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Front Neurol. 2019 Jun 5;10:599. doi: 10.3389/fneur.2019.00599. eCollection 2019.

Altered Whole-Brain Functional Topological Organization and Cognitive Function in Type 2 Diabetes Mellitus Patients.

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Department of Radiology, First Affiliated Hospital of Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.
Department of Radiology, Zhujiang Hospital of Southern Medical University, Guangzhou, China.
Guangzhou University of Chinese Medicine, Guangzhou, China.


Type 2 diabetes mellitus (T2DM) is associated with cognitive dysfunction and may even progress to dementia. However, the underlying mechanism of altered functional topological organization and cognitive impairments remains unclear. This study explored the topological properties of functional whole brain networks in T2DM patients with graph theoretical analysis using a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) technique. Thirty T2DM patients (aged 51.77 ± 1.42 years) and 30 sex-, age-, and education-matched healthy controls (HCs) (aged 48.87 ± 0.98 years) underwent resting-state functional imaging in a 3.0 T MR scanner in addition to detailed neuropsychological and laboratory tests. Then, graph theoretical network analysis was performed to explore the global and nodal topological alterations in the functional whole brain networks of the T2DM patients. Finally, correlation analyses were performed to investigate the relationship between the altered topological parameters, cognitive performances and clinical variables. Compared to HCs, we found that T2DM patients displayed worse performances in general cognitive function and several cognitive domains, including episodic memory, attention and executive function. In addition, T2DM patients showed a higher small-worldness (σ), a higher normalized clustering coefficient (γ) and a higher local efficiency (Eloc). Moreover, decreased nodal topological properties were mainly distributed in the occipital lobes, frontal lobes, left median cingulate and paracingulate gyri, and left amygdala, while increased nodal topological properties were mainly distributed in the right gyrus rectus, right anterior cingulate and paracingulate gyri, right posterior cingulate gyrus, bilateral caudate nucleus, bilateral cerebellum 3, bilateral cerebellum crus 1, vermis (1, 2) and vermis 3. Some disrupted nodal topological properties were correlated with cognitive performance and HbA1c levels in T2DM patients. This study shows altered functional topological organization in T2DM patients, mainly suggesting a compensation mechanism of the functional whole brain network in the relatively early stage to counteract cognitive impairments.


cognitive function; graph theoretical analysis; resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging; topological organization; type 2 diabetes mellitus

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