Using The Virtual Brain to study the relationship between structural and functional connectivity in patients with multiple sclerosis: a multicenter study

Gerard Martí-Juan, Jaume Sastre-Garriga, Eloy Martinez-Heras, Angela Vidal-Jordana, Sara Llufriu, Sergiu Groppa, Gabriel Gonzalez-Escamilla, Maria A. Rocca, Massimo Filippi, Einar A. Høgestøl, Hanne F. Harbo, Michael A. Foster, Ahmed T. Toosy, Menno M. Schoonheim, Prejaas Tewarie, Giuseppe Pontillo, Maria Petracca, Àlex Rovira, Gustavo Deco, Deborah Pareto*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

The relationship between structural connectivity (SC) and functional connectivity (FC) captured from magnetic resonance imaging, as well as its interaction with disability and cognitive impairment, is not well understood in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS). The Virtual Brain (TVB) is an open-source brain simulator for creating personalized brain models using SC and FC. The aim of this study was to explore SC–FC relationship in MS using TVB. Two different model regimes have been studied: stable and oscillatory, with the latter including conduction delays in the brain. The models were applied to 513 pwMS and 208 healthy controls (HC) from 7 different centers. Models were analyzed using structural damage, global diffusion properties, clinical disability, cognitive scores, and graph-derived metrics from both simulated and empirical FC. For the stable model, higher SC–FC coupling was associated with pwMS with low Single Digit Modalities Test (SDMT) score (F=3.48, P<0.05), suggesting that cognitive impairment in pwMS is associated with a higher SC–FC coupling. Differences in entropy of the simulated FC between HC, high and low SDMT groups (F=31.57, P<1e-5), show that the model captures subtle differences not detected in the empirical FC, suggesting the existence of compensatory and maladaptive mechanisms between SC and FC in MS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7322-7334
Number of pages13
JournalCerebral cortex
Volume33
Issue number12
Early online date22 Feb 2023
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Jun 2023
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • functional connectivity
  • MRI
  • multiple sclerosis
  • structural connectivity
  • The Virtual Brain
  • n/a OA procedure

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