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Neuroimage. 2017 Mar 1;148:130-140. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2016.12.080. Epub 2017 Jan 6.

Multi-modal analysis of functional connectivity and cerebral blood flow reveals shared and unique effects of propofol in large-scale brain networks.

Author information

1
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
2
Anesthesiology, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.
3
Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA; Neurosurgery, Yale School of Medicine, New Haven, CT 06520, USA.

Abstract

Anesthesia-induced changes in functional connectivity and cerebral blow flow (CBF) in large-scale brain networks have emerged as key markers of reduced consciousness. However, studies of functional connectivity disagree on which large-scale networks are altered or preserved during anesthesia, making it difficult to find a consensus amount studies. Additionally, pharmacological alterations in CBF could amplify or occlude changes in connectivity due to the shared variance between CBF and connectivity. Here, we used data-driven connectivity methods and multi-modal imaging to investigate shared and unique neural correlates of reduced consciousness for connectivity in large-scale brain networks. Rs-fMRI and CBF data were collected from the same subjects during an awake and deep sedation condition induced by propofol. We measured whole-brain connectivity using the intrinsic connectivity distribution (ICD), a method not reliant on pre-defined seed regions, networks of interest, or connectivity thresholds. The shared and unique variance between connectivity and CBF were investigated. Finally, to account for shared variance, we present a novel extension to ICD that incorporates cerebral blood flow (CBF) as a scaling factor in the calculation of global connectivity, labeled CBF-adjusted ICD). We observed altered connectivity in multiple large-scale brain networks including the default mode (DMN), salience, visual, and motor networks and reduced CBF in the DMN, frontoparietal network, and thalamus. Regional connectivity and CBF were significantly correlated during both the awake and propofol condition. Nevertheless changes in connectivity and CBF between the awake and deep sedation condition were only significantly correlated in a subsystem of the DMN, suggesting that, while there is significant shared variance between the modalities, changes due to propofol are relatively unique. Similar, but less significant, results were observed in the CBF-adjusted ICD analysis, providing additional evidence that connectivity differences were not fully explained by CBF. In conclusion, these results provide further evidence of alterations in large-scale brain networks are associated with reduced consciousness and suggest that different modalities capture unique aspects of these large scale changes.

KEYWORDS:

Cerebral blood flow; Functional connectivity; Large-scale brain networks; Multi-modal; Propofol; Reduced consciousness

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