Stroke and Neurodegeneration Induce Different Connectivity Aberrations in the Insula
Background and Purpose—Stroke and neurodegeneration cause significant brain damage and cognitive impairment, especially if the insular cortex is compromised. This study explores for the first time whether these 2 causes differentially alter connectivity patterns in the insular cortex.
Methods—Resting state–functional magnetic resonance imaging data were collected from patients with insular stroke, patients with behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia, and healthy controls. Data from the 3 groups were assessed through a correlation function analysis. Specifically, we compared decreases in connectivity as a function of voxel Euclidean distance within the insular cortex.
Results—Relative to controls, patients with stroke showed faster connectivity decays as a function of distance (hypoconnectivity). In contrast, the behavioral variant frontotemporal dementia group exhibited significant hyperconnectivity between neighboring voxels. Both patient groups evinced global hypoconnectivity. No between-group differences were observed in a volumetrically and functionally comparable region without ischemia or neurodegeneration.
Conclusions—Functional insular cortex connectivity is affected differently by cerebral ischemia and neurodegeneration, possibly because of differences in the cause-specific pathophysiological mechanisms of each disease. These findings have important clinical and theoretical implications.
- Received April 1, 2015.
- Revision received May 22, 2015.
- Accepted June 11, 2015.
- © 2015 American Heart Association, Inc.