Nakuci, J., McGuire, M., Schweser, F., Poulsen, D., & Muldoon, S. (2021). Differential patterns of change in brain connectivity resulting from severe traumatic brain injury. BioRxiv.
Nakuci, Johan, Matthew McGuire, F. Schweser, D. Poulsen, and S. Muldoon. “Differential Patterns of Change in Brain Connectivity Resulting from Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.” bioRxiv (2021).
Nakuci, Johan, et al. “Differential Patterns of Change in Brain Connectivity Resulting from Severe Traumatic Brain Injury.” BioRxiv, 2021.
Background Traumatic brain injury (TBI) damages white matter tracts, disrupting brain network structure and communication. There exists a wide heterogeneity in the pattern of structural damage associated with injury, as well as a large heterogeneity in behavioral outcomes. However, little is known about the relationship between changes in network connectivity and clinical outcomes. Methods We utilize the rat lateral fluid-percussion injury (FPI) model of severe TBI to study differences in brain connectivity in 8 animals that received the insult and 11 animals that received only a craniectomy. Diffusion Tensor Imaging (DTI) is performed 5 weeks after the injury and network theory is used to investigate changes in white matter connectivity. Results We find that 1) global network measures are not able to distinguish between healthy and injured animals; 2) injury induced alterations predominantly exist in a subset of connections (subnetworks) distributed throughout the brain; and 3) injured animals can be divided into subgroups based on changes in network motifs – measures of local structural connectivity. Additionally, alterations in predicted functional connectivity indicate that the subgroups have different propensities to synchronize brain activity, which could relate to the heterogeneity of clinical outcomes. Discussion These results suggest that network measures can be used to quantify progressive changes in brain connectivity due to injury and differentiate among subpopulations with similar injuries but different pathological trajectories. Impact Statement White matter tracts are important for efficient communication between brain regions and their connectivity pattern underlies proper brain function. Traumatic brain injury (TBI) damages white matter tracts and changes brain connectivity, but how specific changes relate to differences in clinical/behavioral outcomes is not known. Using network theory to study injury related changes in structural connectivity, we find that local measures of network structure can identify subgroups of injured rats with different types of changes in brain structure. Our results suggest that these different patterns of change could relate to differences in clinical outcomes.