Default network connectivity reflects the level of consciousness in non-communicative brain-damaged patients.
Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey ; Noirhomme, Quentin ; Tshibanda, Luaba et al
in Brain : A Journal of Neurology (2010), 133(Pt 1), 161-71
The 'default network' is defined as a set of areas, encompassing posterior-cingulate/precuneus, anterior cingulate/mesiofrontal cortex and temporo-parietal junctions, that show more activity at rest than ... [more ▼]
The 'default network' is defined as a set of areas, encompassing posterior-cingulate/precuneus, anterior cingulate/mesiofrontal cortex and temporo-parietal junctions, that show more activity at rest than during attention-demanding tasks. Recent studies have shown that it is possible to reliably identify this network in the absence of any task, by resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging connectivity analyses in healthy volunteers. However, the functional significance of these spontaneous brain activity fluctuations remains unclear. The aim of this study was to test if the integrity of this resting-state connectivity pattern in the default network would differ in different pathological alterations of consciousness. Fourteen non-communicative brain-damaged patients and 14 healthy controls participated in the study. Connectivity was investigated using probabilistic independent component analysis, and an automated template-matching component selection approach. Connectivity in all default network areas was found to be negatively correlated with the degree of clinical consciousness impairment, ranging from healthy controls and locked-in syndrome to minimally conscious, vegetative then coma patients. Furthermore, precuneus connectivity was found to be significantly stronger in minimally conscious patients as compared with unconscious patients. Locked-in syndrome patient's default network connectivity was not significantly different from controls. Our results show that default network connectivity is decreased in severely brain-damaged patients, in proportion to their degree of consciousness impairment. Future prospective studies in a larger patient population are needed in order to evaluate the prognostic value of the presented methodology. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 73 (19 ULg)
Breakdown of within- and between-network resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging connectivity during propofol-induced loss of consciousness.
Boveroux, Pierre ; Vanhaudenhuyse, Audrey ; Bruno, Marie-Aurélie et al
in Anesthesiology (2010), 113(5), 1038-53
BACKGROUND: Mechanisms of anesthesia-induced loss of consciousness remain poorly understood. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging allows investigating whole-brain connectivity changes ... [more ▼]
BACKGROUND: Mechanisms of anesthesia-induced loss of consciousness remain poorly understood. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging allows investigating whole-brain connectivity changes during pharmacological modulation of the level of consciousness. METHODS: Low-frequency spontaneous blood oxygen level-dependent fluctuations were measured in 19 healthy volunteers during wakefulness, mild sedation, deep sedation with clinical unconsciousness, and subsequent recovery of consciousness. RESULTS: Propofol-induced decrease in consciousness linearly correlates with decreased corticocortical and thalamocortical connectivity in frontoparietal networks (i.e., default- and executive-control networks). Furthermore, during propofol-induced unconsciousness, a negative correlation was identified between thalamic and cortical activity in these networks. Finally, negative correlations between default network and lateral frontoparietal cortices activity, present during wakefulness, decreased proportionally to propofol-induced loss of consciousness. In contrast, connectivity was globally preserved in low-level sensory cortices, (i.e., in auditory and visual networks across sedation stages). This was paired with preserved thalamocortical connectivity in these networks. Rather, waning of consciousness was associated with a loss of cross-modal interactions between visual and auditory networks. CONCLUSIONS: Our results shed light on the functional significance of spontaneous brain activity fluctuations observed in functional magnetic resonance imaging. They suggest that propofol-induced unconsciousness could be linked to a breakdown of cerebral temporal architecture that modifies both within- and between-network connectivity and thus prevents communication between low-level sensory and higher-order frontoparietal cortices, thought to be necessary for perception of external stimuli. They emphasize the importance of thalamocortical connectivity in higher-order cognitive brain networks in the genesis of conscious perception. [less ▲]Detailed reference viewed: 55 (11 ULg)