Scientific article

Disconnectomics of the Rich Club Impacts Motor Recovery After Stroke

Published inStroke, vol. 52, no. 6, p. 2115-2124
Publication date2021-06
First online date2021-04-27

Background and purpose: Structural brain networks possess a few hubs, which are not only highly connected to the rest of the brain but are also highly connected to each other. These hubs, which form a rich-club, play a central role in global brain organization. To investigate whether the concept of rich-club sheds new light on poststroke recovery, we applied a novel network-theoretical quantification of lesions to patients with stroke and compared the outcomes with what lesion size alone would indicate.

Methods: Whole-brain structural networks of 73 patients with ischemic stroke were reconstructed using diffusion-weighted imaging data. Disconnectomes, a new type of network analyses, were constructed using only those fibers that pass through the lesion. Fugl-Meyer upper extremity scores and their changes were used to determine whether the patients show natural recovery or not.

Results: Cluster analysis revealed 3 patient clusters: small-lesion-good-recovery, midsized-lesion-poor-recovery (MLPR), and large-lesion-poor-recovery (LLPR). The small-lesion-good-recovery consisted of subjects whose lesions were small, and whose prospects for recovery were relatively good. To explain the nondifference in recovery between the MLPR and LLPR clusters despite the difference (LLPR>MLPR) in lesion volume, we defined the [Formula: see text] metric to be the sum of the entries in the disconnectome and, more importantly, the [Formula: see text] to be the sum of all entries in the disconnectome corresponding to edges with at least one node in the rich-club. Unlike lesion volume and corticospinal tract damage (MLPR<LLPR), for [Formula: see text], this relationship was reversed (MLPR>LLPR) or showed no difference for [Formula: see text].

Conclusions: Smaller lesions that focus on the rich-club can be just as devastating as much larger lesions that do not focus on the rich-club, pointing to the role of the rich-club as a backbone for functional communication within brain networks and for recovery from stroke.

  • Brain
  • Cluster analysis
  • Communication
  • Connectome
  • Diffusion-weighted imaging
  • Upper extremity
  • Aged
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Ischemic Stroke / diagnostic imaging
  • Ischemic Stroke / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Recovery of Function
Citation (ISO format)
EGGER, Philip et al. Disconnectomics of the Rich Club Impacts Motor Recovery After Stroke. In: Stroke, 2021, vol. 52, n° 6, p. 2115–2124. doi: 10.1161/STROKEAHA.120.031541
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Article (Published version)
ISSN of the journal0039-2499

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