Objective: To examine the functional connectivity of hippocampal and selected frontal lobe circuits in patients with traumatic axonal injury (TAI). Design: Observational study. Setting: An inpatient traumatic brain injury unit. Imaging and neurocognitive assessments were conducted in an outpatient research facility. Participants: Twenty-five consecutive patients with brain injuries consistent with TAI and acute subcortical white matter abnormalities were studied as well as 16 healthy volunteers of similar age and sex. Interventions: Echo-planar and high-resolution T1-weighted images were acquired using 3-T scanners. Regions of interest (ROI) were drawn bilaterally for the hippocampus, anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex and were used to extract time series data. Blood oxygenation level-dependent data from each ROI were used as reference functions for correlating with all other brain voxels. Interhemispheric functional connectivity was assessed for each participant by correlating homologous regions using a Pearson correlation coefficient. Patient functional and neurocognitive outcomes were assessed approximately 6 months after injury. Main Outcome Measures: Interhemispheric functional connectivity, spatial patterns of functional connectivity, and associations of connectivity measures with functional and neurocognitive outcomes. Results: Patients showed significantly lower interhemispheric functional connectivity for the hippocampus and ACC. Controls demonstrated stronger and more focused functional connectivity for the hippocampi and ACC, and a more focused recruitment of the default mode network for the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex ROI. The interhemispheric functional connectivity for the hippocampus was correlated with delayed recall of verbal information. Conclusions: Traumatic axonal injury may affect interhemispheric neural activity, as patients with TAI show disrupted interhemispheric functional connectivity. More careful investigation of interhemispheric connectivity is warranted, as it demonstrated a modest association with outcome in chronic TBI.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Clinical Neurology