ResearchPad - thalamus https://www.researchpad.co Default RSS Feed en-us © 2020 Newgen KnowledgeWorks <![CDATA[Direct comparison of activation maps during galvanic vestibular stimulation: A hybrid H<sub>2</sub>[<sup>15</sup> O] PET—BOLD MRI activation study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_14749 Previous unimodal PET and fMRI studies in humans revealed a reproducible vestibular brain activation pattern, but with variations in its weighting and expansiveness. Hybrid studies minimizing methodological variations at baseline conditions are rare and still lacking for task-based designs. Thus, we applied for the first time hybrid 3T PET-MRI scanning (Siemens mMR) in healthy volunteers using galvanic vestibular stimulation (GVS) in healthy volunteers in order to directly compare H215O-PET and BOLD MRI responses. List mode PET acquisition started with the injection of 750 MBq H215O simultaneously to MRI EPI sequences. Group-level statistical parametric maps were generated for GVS vs. rest contrasts of PET, MR-onset (event-related), and MR-block. All contrasts showed a similar bilateral vestibular activation pattern with remarkable proximity of activation foci. Both BOLD contrasts gave more bilateral wide-spread activation clusters than PET; no area showed contradictory signal responses. PET still confirmed the right-hemispheric lateralization of the vestibular system, whereas BOLD-onset revealed only a tendency. The reciprocal inhibitory visual-vestibular interaction concept was confirmed by PET signal decreases in primary and secondary visual cortices, and BOLD-block decreases in secondary visual areas. In conclusion, MRI activation maps contained a mixture of CBF measured using H215O-PET and additional non-CBF effects, and the activation-deactivation pattern of the BOLD-block appears to be more similar to the H215O-PET than the BOLD-onset.

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<![CDATA[Inferring a simple mechanism for alpha-blocking by fitting a neural population model to EEG spectra]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/elastic_article_13836 One of the most striking features of the human electroencephalogram (EEG) is the presence of neural oscillations in the range of 8-13 Hz. It is well known that attenuation of these alpha oscillations, a process known as alpha blocking, arises from opening of the eyes, though the cause has remained obscure. In this study we infer the mechanism underlying alpha blocking by fitting a neural population model to EEG spectra from 82 different individuals. Although such models have long held the promise of being able to relate macroscopic recordings of brain activity to microscopic neural parameters, their utility has been limited by the difficulty of inferring these parameters from fits to data. Our approach involves fitting eyes-open and eyes-closed EEG spectra in a way that minimizes unnecessary differences in model parameters between the two states. Surprisingly, we find that changes in just one parameter, the level of external input to the inhibitory neurons in cortex, is sufficient to explain the attenuation of alpha oscillations. This indicates that opening of the eyes reduces alpha activity simply by increasing external inputs to the inhibitory neurons in the cortex.

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<![CDATA[Reference values of physiological 18F-FET uptake: Implications for brain tumor discrimination]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/N80bdbd58-ef10-47b0-8bc3-8bde8c3b2b52

Purpose

The aim of this study was to derive reference values of 18F-fluoro-ethyl-L-tyrosine positron emission tomography (18F-FET-PET) uptake in normal brain and head structures to allow for differentiation from tumor tissue.

Materials and methods

We examined the datasets of 70 patients (median age 53 years, range 15–79), whose dynamic 18F-FET-PET was acquired between January 2016 and October 2017. Maximum standardized uptake value (SUVmax), target-to-background standardized uptake value ratio (TBR), and time activity curve (TAC) of the 18F-FET-PET were assessed in tumor tissue and in eight normal anatomic structures and compared using the t-test and Mann-Whitney U-test. Correlation analyses were performed using Pearson or Spearman coefficients, and comparisons between several variables with Pearson’s chi-squared tests and Kruskal-Wallis tests as well as the Benjamini-Hochberg correction.

Results

All analyzed structures showed an 18F-FET uptake higher than background (threshold: TBR > 1.5). The venous sinuses and cranial muscles exhibited a TBR of 2.03±0.46 (confidence interval (CI) 1.92–2.14), higher than the uptake of caudate nucleus, pineal gland, putamen, and thalamus (TBR 1.42±0.17, CI 1.38–1.47). SUVmax, TBR, and TAC showed no difference in the analyzed structures between subjects with high-grade gliomas and subjects with low-grade gliomas, except the SUVmax of the pineal gland (t-tests of the pineal gland: SUVmax: p = 0.022; TBR: p = 0.411). No significant differences were found for gender and age.

Conclusion

Normal brain tissue demonstrates increased 18F-FET uptake compared to background tissue. Two distinct clusters have been identified, comprising venous structures and gray matter with a reference uptake of up to SUVmax of 2.99 and 2.33, respectively.

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<![CDATA[Noninvasive vagus nerve stimulation alters neural response and physiological autonomic tone to noxious thermal challenge]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c6dca21d5eed0c48452a80d

The mechanisms by which noninvasive vagal nerve stimulation (nVNS) affect central and peripheral neural circuits that subserve pain and autonomic physiology are not clear, and thus remain an area of intense investigation. Effects of nVNS vs sham stimulation on subject responses to five noxious thermal stimuli (applied to left lower extremity), were measured in 30 healthy subjects (n = 15 sham and n = 15 nVNS), with fMRI and physiological galvanic skin response (GSR). With repeated noxious thermal stimuli a group × time analysis showed a significantly (p < .001) decreased response with nVNS in bilateral primary and secondary somatosensory cortices (SI and SII), left dorsoposterior insular cortex, bilateral paracentral lobule, bilateral medial dorsal thalamus, right anterior cingulate cortex, and right orbitofrontal cortex. A group × time × GSR analysis showed a significantly decreased response in the nVNS group (p < .0005) bilaterally in SI, lower and mid medullary brainstem, and inferior occipital cortex. Finally, nVNS treatment showed decreased activity in pronociceptive brainstem nuclei (e.g. the reticular nucleus and rostral ventromedial medulla) and key autonomic integration nuclei (e.g. the rostroventrolateral medulla, nucleus ambiguous, and dorsal motor nucleus of the vagus nerve). In aggregate, noninvasive vagal nerve stimulation reduced the physiological response to noxious thermal stimuli and impacted neural circuits important for pain processing and autonomic output.

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<![CDATA[Long-term Chinese calligraphic handwriting training has a positive effect on brain network efficiency]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c79afcdd5eed0c4841e37a3

As a visual art form, Chinese calligraphic handwriting (CCH) has been found to correlate with certain brain activity and to induce functional connectivity reorganization of the brain. This study investigated the effect of long-term CCH training on brain functional plasticity as assessed with network measures. With the resting-state fMRI data from 31 participants with at least five years of CCH training and 40 controls, we constructed brain functional networks, examined group differences at both the whole brain and modular levels, and correlated the topological characteristics with calligraphy skills. We found that, compared to the control group, the CCH group showed shorter characteristic path lengths and higher local efficiency in certain brain areas in the frontal and parietal cortices, limbic system, basal ganglia, and thalamus. Moreover, these network measures in the cingulate cortex, caudate nucleus, and thalamus were associated with CCH performance (i.e., copying and creating skills). These results suggest that long-term CCH training has a positive effect on the topological characteristics of brain networks.

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<![CDATA[Large-scale network interactions supporting item-context memory formation]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5c40f760d5eed0c484385fe2

Episodic memory is thought to involve functional interactions of large-scale brain networks that dynamically reconfigure depending on task demands. Although the hippocampus and closely related structures have been implicated, little is known regarding how large-scale and distributed networks support different memory formation demands. We investigated patterns of interactions among distributed networks while human individuals formed item-context memories for two stimulus categories. Subjects studied object-scene and object-location associations in different fMRI sessions. Stimulus-responsive brain regions were organized based on their fMRI interconnectivity into networks and modules using probabilistic module-detection algorithms to maximize measurement of individual differences in modular structure. Although there was a great deal of consistency in the modular structure between object-scene and object-location memory formation, there were also significant differences. Interactions among functional modules predicted later memory accuracy, explaining substantial portions of variability in memory formation success. Increased interactivity of modules associated with internal thought and anti-correlation of these modules with those related to stimulus-evoked processing robustly predicted object-scene memory, whereas decreased interactivity of stimulus-evoked processing modules predicted object-location memory. Assessment of individual differences in network organization therefore allowed identification of distinct patterns of functional interactions that robustly predicted memory formation. This highlights large-scale brain network interactions for memory formation and indicates that although networks are largely robust to task demands, reconfiguration nonetheless occurs to support distinct memory formation demands.

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<![CDATA[Unfolding the Spatial and Temporal Neural Processing of Making Dishonest Choices]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da88ab0ee8fa60b9cdd5

To understand the neural processing that underpins dishonest behavior in an economic exchange game task, this study employed both functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and event-related potential (ERP) methodologies to examine the neural conditions of 25 participants while they were making either dishonest or honest choices. It was discovered that dishonest choices, contrary to honest choices, elicited stronger fMRI activations in bilateral striatum and anterior insula. It also induced fluctuations in ERP amplitudes within two time windows, which are 270–30 milliseconds before and 110–290 milliseconds after the response, respectively. Importantly, when making either dishonest or honest choices, human and computer counterparts were associated with distinct fMRI activations in the left insula and different ERP amplitudes at medial and right central sites from 80 milliseconds before to 250 milliseconds after the response. These results support the hypothesis that there would be distinct neural processing during making dishonest decisions, especially when the subject considers the interests of the counterpart. Furthermore, the fMRI and ERP findings, together with ERP source reconstruction, clearly delineate the temporal sequence of the neural processes of a dishonest decision: the striatum is activated before response, then the left insula is involved around the time of response, and finally the thalamus is activated after response.

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<![CDATA[Mapping of the brain hemodynamic responses to sensorimotor stimulation in a rodent model: A BOLD fMRI study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db59ab0ee8fa60bdf0e7

Blood Oxygenation Level Dependent functional MRI (BOLD fMRI) during electrical paw stimulation has been widely used in studies aimed at the understanding of the somatosensory network in rats. However, despite the well-established anatomical connections between cortical and subcortical structures of the sensorimotor system, most of these functional studies have been concentrated on the cortical effects of sensory electrical stimulation. BOLD fMRI study of the integration of a sensorimotor input across the sensorimotor network requires an appropriate methodology to elicit functional activation in cortical and subcortical areas owing to the regional differences in both neuronal and vascular architectures between these brain regions. Here, using a combination of low level anesthesia, long pulse duration of the electrical stimulation along with improved spatial and temporal signal to noise ratios, we provide a functional description of the main cortical and subcortical structures of the sensorimotor rat brain. With this calibrated fMRI protocol, unilateral non-noxious sensorimotor electrical hindpaw stimulation resulted in robust positive activations in the contralateral sensorimotor cortex and bilaterally in the sensorimotor thalamus nuclei, whereas negative activations were observed bilaterally in the dorsolateral caudate-putamen. These results demonstrate that, once the experimental setup allowing necessary spatial and temporal signal to noise ratios is reached, hemodynamic changes related to neuronal activity, as preserved by the combination of a soft anesthesia with a soft muscle relaxation, can be measured within the sensorimotor network. Moreover, the observed responses suggest that increasing pulse duration of the electrical stimulus adds a proprioceptive component to the sensory input that activates sensorimotor network in the brain, and that these activation patterns are similar to those induced by digits paw’s movements. These findings may find application in fMRI studies of sensorimotor disorders within cortico-basal network in rodents.

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<![CDATA[Quantification of motor network dynamics in Parkinson’s disease by means of landscape and flux theory]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdc05e

The basal ganglia neural circuit plays an important role in motor control. Despite the significant efforts, the understanding of the principles and underlying mechanisms of this modulatory circuit and the emergence of abnormal synchronized oscillations in movement disorders is still challenging. Dopamine loss has been proved to be responsible for Parkinson’s disease. We quantitatively described the dynamics of the basal ganglia-thalamo-cortical circuit in Parkinson’s disease in terms of the emergence of both abnormal firing rates and firing patterns in the circuit. We developed a potential landscape and flux framework for exploring the modulatory circuit. The driving force of the circuit can be decomposed into a gradient of the potential, which is associated with the steady-state probability distributions, and the curl probability flux term. We uncovered the underlying potential landscape as a Mexican hat-shape closed ring valley where abnormal oscillations emerge due to dopamine depletion. We quantified the global stability of the network through the topography of the landscape in terms of the barrier height, which is defined as the potential difference between the maximum potential inside the ring and the minimum potential along the ring. Both a higher barrier and a larger flux originated from detailed balance breaking result in more stable oscillations. Meanwhile, more energy is consumed to support the increasing flux. Global sensitivity analysis on the landscape topography and flux indicates how changes in underlying neural network regulatory wirings and external inputs influence the dynamics of the system. We validated two of the main hypotheses(direct inhibition hypothesis and output activation hypothesis) on the therapeutic mechanism of deep brain stimulation (DBS). We found GPe appears to be another effective stimulated target for DBS besides GPi and STN. Our approach provides a general way to quantitatively explore neural networks and may help for uncovering more efficacious therapies for movement disorders.

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<![CDATA[The Preferred Directions of Conjunctive Grid X Head Direction Cells in the Medial Entorhinal Cortex Are Periodically Organized]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9fbab0ee8fa60b721f8

The discovery of speed-modulated grid, head direction, and conjunctive grid x head direction cells in the medial entorhinal cortex has led to the hypothesis that path integration, the updating of one’s spatial representation based on movement, may be carried out within this region. This hypothesis has been formalized by many computational models, including a class known as attractor network models. While many of these models propose specific mechanisms by which path integration might occur, predictions of these specific mechanisms have not been tested. Here I derive and test a key prediction of one attractor network path integration mechanism. Specifically, I first demonstrate that this mechanism predicts a periodic distribution of conjunctive cell preferred directions in order to minimize drift. Next, I test whether conjunctive cell preferred directions are in fact periodically organized. Results indicate that conjunctive cells are preferentially tuned to increments of 36°, consistent with drift minimization in this path integration mechanism. By contrast, no periodicity was observed in the preferred directions of either pure grid or pure head direction cells. These results provide the first neural evidence of a nonuniform structure in the directional preferences of any head direction representation found in the brain.

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<![CDATA[Transition between Functional Regimes in an Integrate-And-Fire Network Model of the Thalamus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989dabdab0ee8fa60baf743

The thalamus is a key brain element in the processing of sensory information. During the sleep and awake states, this brain area is characterized by the presence of two distinct dynamical regimes: in the sleep state activity is dominated by spindle oscillations (7 − 15 Hz) weakly affected by external stimuli, while in the awake state the activity is primarily driven by external stimuli. Here we develop a simple and computationally efficient model of the thalamus that exhibits two dynamical regimes with different information-processing capabilities, and study the transition between them. The network model includes glutamatergic thalamocortical (TC) relay neurons and GABAergic reticular (RE) neurons described by adaptive integrate-and-fire models in which spikes are induced by either depolarization or hyperpolarization rebound. We found a range of connectivity conditions under which the thalamic network composed by these neurons displays the two aforementioned dynamical regimes. Our results show that TC-RE loops generate spindle-like oscillations and that a minimum level of clustering (i.e. local connectivity density) in the RE-RE connections is necessary for the coexistence of the two regimes. We also observe that the transition between the two regimes occurs when the external excitatory input on TC neurons (mimicking sensory stimulation) is large enough to cause a significant fraction of them to switch from hyperpolarization-rebound-driven firing to depolarization-driven firing. Overall, our model gives a novel and clear description of the role that the two types of neurons and their connectivity play in the dynamical regimes observed in the thalamus, and in the transition between them. These results pave the way for the development of efficient models of the transmission of sensory information from periphery to cortex.

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<![CDATA[Mapping Long-Term Functional Changes in Cerebral Blood Flow by Arterial Spin Labeling]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da9dab0ee8fa60ba473c

Although arterial spin labeling (ASL) is appealing for mapping long-term changes in functional activity, inter-sessional variations in basal blood flow, arterial transit times (ATTs), and alignment errors, can result in significant false activation when comparing images from separate sessions. By taking steps to reduce these sources of noise, this study assessed the ability of ASL to detect functional CBF changes between sessions. ASL data were collected in three sessions to image ATT, resting CBF and CBF changes associated with motor activation (7 participants). Activation maps were generated using rest and task images acquired in the same session and from sessions separated by up to a month. Good agreement was found when comparing between-session activation maps to within-session activation maps with only a 16% decrease in precision (within-session: 90 ± 7%) and a 13% decrease in the Dice similarity (within-session: 0.75 ± 0.07) coefficient after a month. In addition, voxel-wise reproducibility (within-session: 4.7 ± 4.5%) and reliability (within-session: 0.89 ± 0.20) of resting grey-matter CBF decreased by less than 18% for the between-session analysis relative to within-session values. ATT variability between sessions (5.0 ± 2.7%) was roughly half the between-subject variability, indicating that its effects on longitudinal CBF were minimal. These results demonstrate that conducting voxel-wise analysis on CBF images acquired on different days is feasible with only modest loss in precision, highlighting the potential of ASL for longitudinal studies.

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<![CDATA[Control of Somatosensory Cortical Processing by Thalamic Posterior Medial Nucleus: A New Role of Thalamus in Cortical Function]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989daeaab0ee8fa60bbefba

Current knowledge of thalamocortical interaction comes mainly from studying lemniscal thalamic systems. Less is known about paralemniscal thalamic nuclei function. In the vibrissae system, the posterior medial nucleus (POm) is the corresponding paralemniscal nucleus. POm neurons project to L1 and L5A of the primary somatosensory cortex (S1) in the rat brain. It is known that L1 modifies sensory-evoked responses through control of intracortical excitability suggesting that L1 exerts an influence on whisker responses. Therefore, thalamocortical pathways targeting L1 could modulate cortical firing. Here, using a combination of electrophysiology and pharmacology in vivo, we have sought to determine how POm influences cortical processing. In our experiments, single unit recordings performed in urethane-anesthetized rats showed that POm imposes precise control on the magnitude and duration of supra- and infragranular barrel cortex whisker responses. Our findings demonstrated that L1 inputs from POm imposed a time and intensity dependent regulation on cortical sensory processing. Moreover, we found that blocking L1 GABAergic inhibition or blocking P/Q-type Ca2+ channels in L1 prevents POm adjustment of whisker responses in the barrel cortex. Additionally, we found that POm was also controlling the sensory processing in S2 and this regulation was modulated by corticofugal activity from L5 in S1. Taken together, our data demonstrate the determinant role exerted by the POm in the adjustment of somatosensory cortical processing and in the regulation of cortical processing between S1 and S2. We propose that this adjustment could be a thalamocortical gain regulation mechanism also present in the processing of information between cortical areas.

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<![CDATA[Cortical Thickness, Surface Area and Subcortical Volume Differentially Contribute to Cognitive Heterogeneity in Parkinson’s Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db3eab0ee8fa60bd5ebf

Parkinson’s disease (PD) is often associated with cognitive deficits, although their severity varies considerably between patients. Recently, we used voxel-based morphometry (VBM) to show that individual differences in gray matter (GM) volume relate to cognitive heterogeneity in PD. VBM does, however, not differentiate between cortical thickness (CTh) and surface area (SA), which might be independently affected in PD. We therefore re-analyzed our cohort using the surface-based method FreeSurfer, and investigated (i) CTh, SA, and (sub)cortical GM volume differences between 93 PD patients and 45 matched controls, and (ii) the relation between these structural measures and cognitive performance on six neuropsychological tasks within the PD group. We found cortical thinning in PD patients in the left pericalcarine gyrus, extending to cuneus, precuneus and lingual areas and left inferior parietal cortex, bilateral rostral middle frontal cortex, and right cuneus, and increased cortical surface area in the left pars triangularis. Within the PD group, we found negative correlations between (i) CTh of occipital areas and performance on a verbal memory task, (ii) SA and volume of the frontal cortex and visuospatial memory performance, and, (iii) volume of the right thalamus and scores on two verbal fluency tasks. Our primary findings illustrate that i) CTh and SA are differentially affected in PD, and ii) VBM and FreeSurfer yield non-overlapping results in an identical dataset. We argue that this discrepancy is due to technical differences and the subtlety of the PD-related structural changes.

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<![CDATA[Neural Correlates of Contrast and Humor: Processing Common Features of Verbal Irony]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da7eab0ee8fa60b997db

Irony is a kind of figurative language used by a speaker to say something that contrasts with the context and, to some extent, lends humor to a situation. However, little is known about the brain regions that specifically support the processing of these two common features of irony. The present study had two main aims: (i) investigate the neural basis of irony processing, by delivering short ironic spoken sentences (and their literal counterparts) to participants undergoing fMRI; and (ii) assess the neural effect of two irony parameters, obtained from normative studies: degree of contrast and humor appreciation. Results revealed activation of the bilateral inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), posterior part of the left superior temporal gyrus, medial frontal cortex, and left caudate during irony processing, suggesting the involvement of both semantic and theory-of-mind networks. Parametric models showed that contrast was specifically associated with the activation of bilateral frontal and subcortical areas, and that these regions were also sensitive to humor, as shown by a conjunction analysis. Activation of the bilateral IFG is consistent with the literature on humor processing, and reflects incongruity detection/resolution processes. Moreover, the activation of subcortical structures can be related to the reward processing of social events.

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<![CDATA[Quantitative Susceptibility Mapping in Parkinson's Disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da3dab0ee8fa60b889c8

Background

Quantitative susceptibility mapping (QSM) and R2* relaxation rate mapping have demonstrated increased iron deposition in the substantia nigra of patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease (PD). However, the findings in other subcortical deep gray matter nuclei are converse and the sensitivity of QSM and R2* for morphological changes and their relation to clinical measures of disease severity has so far been investigated only sparsely.

Methods

The local ethics committee approved this study and all subjects gave written informed consent. 66 patients with idiopathic Parkinson’s disease and 58 control subjects underwent quantitative MRI at 3T. Susceptibility and R2* maps were reconstructed from a spoiled multi-echo 3D gradient echo sequence. Mean susceptibilities and R2* rates were measured in subcortical deep gray matter nuclei and compared between patients with PD and controls as well as related to clinical variables.

Results

Compared to control subjects, patients with PD had increased R2* values in the substantia nigra. QSM also showed higher susceptibilities in patients with PD in substantia nigra, in the nucleus ruber, thalamus, and globus pallidus. Magnetic susceptibility of several of these structures was correlated with the levodopa-equivalent daily dose (LEDD) and clinical markers of motor and non-motor disease severity (total MDS-UPDRS, MDS-UPDRS-I and II). Disease severity as assessed by the Hoehn & Yahr scale was correlated with magnetic susceptibility in the substantia nigra.

Conclusion

The established finding of higher R2* rates in the substantia nigra was extended by QSM showing superior sensitivity for PD-related tissue changes in nigrostriatal dopaminergic pathways. QSM additionally reflected the levodopa-dosage and disease severity. These results suggest a more widespread pathologic involvement and QSM as a novel means for its investigation, more sensitive than current MRI techniques.

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<![CDATA[Decreased Functional Connectivity of Homotopic Brain Regions in Chronic Stroke Patients: A Resting State fMRI Study]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da43ab0ee8fa60b8ab13

The recovery of motor functions is accompanied by brain reorganization, and identifying the inter-hemispheric interaction post stroke will conduce to more targeted treatments. However, the alterations of bi-hemispheric coordination pattern between homologous areas in the whole brain for chronic stroke patients were still unclear. The present study focuses on the functional connectivity (FC) of mirror regions of the whole brain to investigate the inter-hemispheric interaction using a new fMRI method named voxel-mirrored homotopic connectivity (VMHC). Thirty left subcortical chronic stroke patients with pure motor deficits and 37 well-matched healthy controls (HCs) underwent resting-state fMRI scans. We employed a VMHC analysis to determine the brain areas showed significant differences between groups in FC between homologous regions, and we explored the relationships between the mean VMHC of each survived area and clinical tests within patient group using Pearson correlation. In addition, the brain areas showed significant correlations between the mean VMHC and clinical tests were defined as the seed regions for whole brain FC analysis. Relative to HCs, patients group displayed lower VMHC in the precentral gyrus, postcentral gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, middle temporal gyrus, calcarine gyrus, thalamus, cerebellum anterior lobe, and cerebellum posterior lobe (CPL). Moreover, the VMHC of CPL was positively correlated with the Fugl–Meyer Score of hand (FMA-H), while a negative correlation between illness duration and the VMHC of this region was also detected. Furthermore, we found that when compared with HCs, the right CPL exhibited reduced FC with the left precentral gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, inferior parietal lobule, middle temporal gyrus, thalamus and hippocampus. Our results suggest that the functional coordination across hemispheres is impaired in chronic stroke patients, and increased VMHC of the CPL is significantly associated with higher FMA-H scores. These findings may be helpful in understanding the mechanism of hand deficit after stroke, and the CPL may serve as a target region for hand rehabilitation following stroke.

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<![CDATA[The Emotional Gatekeeper: A Computational Model of Attentional Selection and Suppression through the Pathway from the Amygdala to the Inhibitory Thalamic Reticular Nucleus]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989da30ab0ee8fa60b84302

In a complex environment that contains both opportunities and threats, it is important for an organism to flexibly direct attention based on current events and prior plans. The amygdala, the hub of the brain's emotional system, is involved in forming and signaling affective associations between stimuli and their consequences. The inhibitory thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) is a hub of the attentional system that gates thalamo-cortical signaling. In the primate brain, a recently discovered pathway from the amygdala sends robust projections to TRN. Here we used computational modeling to demonstrate how the amygdala-TRN pathway, embedded in a wider neural circuit, can mediate selective attention guided by emotions. Our Emotional Gatekeeper model demonstrates how this circuit enables focused top-down, and flexible bottom-up, allocation of attention. The model suggests that the amygdala-TRN projection can serve as a unique mechanism for emotion-guided selection of signals sent to cortex for further processing. This inhibitory selection mechanism can mediate a powerful affective ‘framing’ effect that may lead to biased decision-making in highly charged emotional situations. The model also supports the idea that the amygdala can serve as a relevance detection system. Further, the model demonstrates how abnormal top-down drive and dysregulated local inhibition in the amygdala and in the cortex can contribute to the attentional symptoms that accompany several neuropsychiatric disorders.

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<![CDATA[Characterization of the resting-state brain network topology in the 6-hydroxydopamine rat model of Parkinson’s disease]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989db50ab0ee8fa60bdbd73

Resting-state functional MRI (rsfMRI) is an imaging technology that has recently gained attention for its ability to detect disruptions in functional brain networks in humans, including in patients with Parkinson’s disease (PD), revealing early and widespread brain network abnormalities. This methodology is now readily applicable to experimental animals offering new possibilities for cross-species translational imaging. In this context, we herein describe the application of rsfMRI to the unilaterally-lesioned 6-hydroxydopamine (6-OHDA) rat, a robust experimental model of the dopamine depletion implicated in PD. Using graph theory to analyse the rsfMRI data, we were able to provide meaningful and translatable measures of integrity, influence and segregation of the underlying functional brain architecture. Specifically, we confirm that rats share a similar functional brain network topology as observed in humans, characterised by small-worldness and modularity. Interestingly, we observed significantly reduced functional connectivity in the 6-OHDA rats, primarily in the ipsilateral (lesioned) hemisphere as evidenced by significantly lower node degree, local efficiency and clustering coefficient in the motor, orbital and sensorimotor cortices. In contrast, we found significantly, and bilaterally, increased thalamic functional connectivity in the lesioned rats. The unilateral deficits in the cortex are consistent with the unilateral nature of this model and further support the validity of the rsfMRI technique in rodents. We thereby provide a methodological framework for the investigation of brain networks in other rodent experimental models of PD, as well as of animal models in general, for cross-comparison with human data.

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<![CDATA[Functional Plasticity after Unilateral Vestibular Midbrain Infarction in Human Positron Emission Tomography]]> https://www.researchpad.co/article/5989d9e8ab0ee8fa60b6bea1

The aim of the study was to uncover mechanisms of central compensation of vestibular function at brainstem, cerebellar, and cortical levels in patients with acute unilateral midbrain infarctions presenting with an acute vestibular tone imbalance. Eight out of 17 patients with unilateral midbrain infarctions were selected on the basis of signs of a vestibular tone imbalance, e.g., graviceptive (tilts of perceived verticality) and oculomotor dysfunction (skew deviation, ocular torsion) in F18-fluordeoxyglucose (FDG)-PET at two time points: A) in the acute stage, and B) after recovery 6 months later. Lesion-behavior mapping analyses with MRI verified the exact structural lesion sites. Group subtraction analyses and comparisons with healthy controls were performed with Statistic Parametric Mapping for the PET data. A comparison of PET A of acute-stage patients with that of healthy controls showed increases in glucose metabolism in the cerebellum, motion-sensitive visual cortex areas, and inferior temporal lobe, but none in vestibular cortex areas. At the supratentorial level bilateral signal decreases dominated in the thalamus, frontal eye fields, and anterior cingulum. These decreases persisted after clinical recovery in contrast to the increases. The transient activations can be attributed to ocular motor and postural recovery (cerebellum) and sensory substitution of vestibular function for motion perception (visual cortex). The persisting deactivation in the thalamic nuclei and frontal eye fields allows alternative functional interpretations of the thalamic nuclei: either a disconnection of ascending sensory input occurs or there is a functional mismatch between expected and actual vestibular activity. Our data support the view that both thalami operate separately for each hemisphere but receive vestibular input from ipsilateral and contralateral midbrain integration centers. Normally they have gatekeeper functions for multisensory input to the cortex and automatic motor output to subserve balance and locomotion, as well as sensorimotor integration.

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