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Sci Rep. 2019 Mar 12;9(1):4187. doi: 10.1038/s41598-019-40695-3.

Brain functional connectivity is altered in patients with Takotsubo Syndrome.

Author information

1
Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Medicine, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.
2
ICVS/3B's - PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga, Portugal.
3
Clinical Academic Center (2CA - Braga), Braga, Portugal.
4
Cardiology Department, Hospital of Braga, Braga, Portugal.
5
Algoritmi Centre, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal.
6
Life and Health Sciences Research Institute (ICVS), School of Medicine, University of Minho, Braga, Portugal. vitorpereira@med.uminho.pt.
7
ICVS/3B's - PT Government Associate Laboratory, Braga, Portugal. vitorpereira@med.uminho.pt.
8
Clinical Academic Center (2CA - Braga), Braga, Portugal. vitorpereira@med.uminho.pt.
9
Cardiology Department, Hospital of Braga, Braga, Portugal. vitorpereira@med.uminho.pt.

Abstract

Takotsubo syndrome (TTS) is an acute, reversible cardiomyopathy. The central autonomic nervous system (ANS) is believed to play a role in this disease. The aim of the present study was to investigate the patterns of brain functional connectivity in a sample of patients who had experienced a previous episode of TTS. Brain functional connectivity, both at rest and in response to the stressful stimulus of topical cold stimulation, was explored using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), network-based statistics (NBS) and graph theory analysis (GTA) in a population consisting of eight patients with a previous episode of TTS and eight sex- and age-matched controls. At rest, a network characterized by increased connectivity in the TTS group compared to controls and comprising elements of the central ANS was identified. GTA revealed increased local efficiency, clustering and strength in regions of the bilateral hippocampus in subjects with a previous episode of TTS. When stressed by local exposure to cold, the TTS group differed significantly from both a pre-stress baseline interval and from the control group, showing increased connectivity in a network that included the left amygdala and the right insula. Based on the results, patients with TTS display a reorganization of cortical and subcortical networks, including areas associated with the emotional response and autonomic regulation. The findings tend to support the hypothesis that a deregulation of autonomic control at the central level plays a significant role in this syndrome.

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