Scientific article
Open access

Post-stroke reorganization of transient brain activity characterizes deficits and recovery of cognitive functions

Published inNeuroImage, vol. 255, 119201
Publication date2022-07-15

Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been widely employed to study stroke pathophysiology. In particular, analyses of fMRI signals at rest were directed at quantifying the impact of stroke on spatial features of brain networks. However, brain networks have intrinsic time features that were, so far, disregarded in these analyses. In consequence, standard fMRI analysis failed to capture temporal imbalance resulting from stroke lesions, hence restricting their ability to reveal the interdependent pathological changes in structural and temporal network features following stroke. Here, we longitudinally analyzed hemodynamic-informed transient activity in a large cohort of stroke patients (n = 103) to assess spatial and temporal changes of brain networks after stroke. Metrics extracted from the hemodynamic-informed transient activity were replicable within- and between-individuals in healthy participants, hence supporting their robustness and their clinical applicability. While large-scale spatial patterns of brain networks were preserved after stroke, their durations were altered, with stroke subjects exhibiting a varied pattern of longer and shorter network activations compared to healthy individuals. Specifically, patients showed a longer duration in the lateral precentral gyrus and anterior cingulum, and a shorter duration in the occipital lobe and in the cerebellum. These temporal alterations were associated with white matter damage in projection and association pathways. Furthermore, they were tied to deficits in specific behavioral domains as restoration of healthy brain dynamics paralleled recovery of cognitive functions (attention, language and spatial memory), but was not significantly correlated to motor recovery. These findings underscore the critical importance of network temporal properties in dissecting the pathophysiology of brain changes after stroke, thus shedding new light on the clinical potential of time-resolved methods for fMRI analysis.

  • Dynamic functional connectivity
  • Stroke
  • Test-retest reliability
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cognition
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nerve Net
  • Stroke / complications
  • Stroke / diagnostic imaging
  • fMRI
Citation (ISO format)
PIRONDINI, Elvira et al. Post-stroke reorganization of transient brain activity characterizes deficits and recovery of cognitive functions. In: NeuroImage, 2022, vol. 255, p. 119201. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2022.119201
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ISSN of the journal1053-8119

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