Interhemispheric functional and structural disconnection in Alzheimer's disease: A combined resting-state fMRI and DTI study

Zhiqun Wang, Jianli Wang, Han Zhang, Robert Mchugh, Xiaoyu Sun, Kuncheng Li, Qing X. Yang

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Neuroimaging studies have demonstrated that patients with Alzheimer's disease presented disconnection syndrome. However, little is known about the alterations of interhemispheric functional interactions and underlying structural connectivity in the AD patients. In this study, we combined resting-state functional MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) to investigate interhemispheric functional and structural connectivity in 16 AD, 16 mild cognitive impairment (MCI), as well as 16 cognitive normal healthy subjects (CN). The pattern of the resting state interhemispheric functional connectivity was measured with a voxel-mirrored homotopic connectivity (VMHC) method. Decreased VMHC was observed in AD and MCI subjects in anterior brain regions including the prefrontal cortices and subcortical regions with a pattern of AD<MCI<CN. Increased VMHC was observed in MCI subjects in posterior brain regions with patterns of AD/CN < MCI (sensorimotor cortex) and AD < CN/MCI (occipital gyrus). DTI analysis showed the most significant difference among the three cohorts was the fractional anisotropy in the genu of corpus callosum, which was positively associated with the VMHC of prefrontal and subcortical regions. Across all the three cohorts, the diffusion parameters in the genu of corpus callosum and VMHC in the above brain regions had significant correlation with the cognitive performance. These results demonstrate that there are specific patterns of interhemispheric functional connectivity changes in the AD and MCI, which can be significantly correlated with the integrity changes in the midline white matter structures. These results suggest that VMHC can be used as a biomarker for the degeneration of the interhemispheric connectivity in AD.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0126310
JournalPloS one
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 4 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology
  • General Agricultural and Biological Sciences
  • General


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