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BMC Neurosci. 2013 Jul 11;14:69. doi: 10.1186/1471-2202-14-69.

Abnormal activity of default mode network in GERD patients.

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Tongji Institute of Digestive Diseases, Tongji Hospital, Tongji University School of Medicine, No, 389 Xin Cun Road, Shanghai 200065, China.



Abnormal processing of esophageal sensation at the level of the central nervous system has been proven to be involved in gastroesophageal reflux disease (GERD). However, most studies were focused on the possible functions of perceptual processing related network during task status, little attention has been paid to default mode network, which has been manifested to be important in the pathogenesis of many diseases. In our study, we compared the brain activity characteristic in GERD patients with the healthy subjects (HS) at baseline, looking for whether activities of default mode network were abnormal in GERD patients and attempting to identify their possible roles in GERD. In present study, fractional amplitude of low-frequency fluctuation was adopted to detect the brain activities at baseline. Group-level analyses were conducted by one-sample t test within groups (voxel thresholds were p<0.001 and cluster level>42, corrected P<0.05) and independent-samples t test between groups (p<0.01 and cluster level>90, corrected P<0.05) using SPM5.


The predominant activity area in both groups mainly located in default mode network such as medial superior frontal gyrus, precuneus, posterior cingulate gyrus, etc. However, the activities of precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus were significantly lower in GERD patients than those in the HS.


The activities of precuneus and posterior cingulate gyrus of default mode network in GERD patients were significantly lower compared to the HS, suggesting abnormal activities of brain regions in default mode network may be involved in pathophysiology of GERD symptom generation.

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