White matter predicts functional connectivity in premanifest Huntington's disease

Peter McColgan, Sarah Gregory, Adeel Razi, Kiran K. Seunarine, Fatma Gargouri, Alexandra Durr, Raymund A.C. Roos, Blair R. Leavitt, Rachael I. Scahill, Chris A. Clark, Sarah J. Tabrizi, Geraint Rees, the Track On-HD Investigators

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

16 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives: The distribution of pathology in neurodegenerative disease can be predicted by the organizational characteristics of white matter in healthy brains. However, we have very little evidence for the impact these pathological changes have on brain function. Understanding any such link between structure and function is critical for understanding how underlying brain pathology influences the progressive behavioral changes associated with neurodegeneration. Here, we demonstrate such a link between structure and function in individuals with premanifest Huntington's. Methods: Using diffusion tractography and resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging to characterize white matter organization and functional connectivity, we investigate whether characteristic patterns of white matter organization in the healthy human brain shape the changes in functional coupling between brain regions in premanifest Huntington's disease. Results: We find changes in functional connectivity in premanifest Huntington's disease that link directly to underlying patterns of white matter organization in healthy brains. Specifically, brain areas with strong structural connectivity show decreases in functional connectivity in premanifest Huntington's disease relative to controls, while regions with weak structural connectivity show increases in functional connectivity. Furthermore, we identify a pattern of dissociation in the strongest functional connections between anterior and posterior brain regions such that anterior functional connectivity increases in strength in premanifest Huntington's disease, while posterior functional connectivity decreases. Interpretation: Our findings demonstrate that organizational principles of white matter underlie changes in functional connectivity in premanifest Huntington's disease. Furthermore, we demonstrate functional antero–posterior dissociation that is in keeping with the caudo–rostral gradient of striatal pathology in HD.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)106-118
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of Clinical and Translational Neurology
Volume4
Issue number2
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2017

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