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Lateralized Resting-State Functional Brain Network Organization Changes in Heart Failure.


Heart failure (HF) patients show brain injury in autonomic, affective, and cognitive sites, which can change resting-state functional connectivity (FC), potentially altering overall functional brain network organization. However, the status of such connectivity or functional organization is unknown in HF. Determination of that status was the aim here, and we examined region-to-region FC and brain network topological properties across the whole-brain in 27 HF patients compared to 53 controls with resting-state functional MRI procedures. Decreased FC in HF appeared between the caudate and cerebellar regions, olfactory and cerebellar sites, vermis and medial frontal regions, and precentral gyri and cerebellar areas. However, increased FC emerged between the middle frontal gyrus and sensorimotor areas, superior parietal gyrus and orbito/medial frontal regions, inferior temporal gyrus and lingual gyrus/cerebellar lobe/pallidum, fusiform gyrus and superior orbitofrontal gyrus and cerebellar sites, and within vermis and cerebellar areas; these connections were largely in the right hemisphere (p<0.005; 10,000 permutations). The topology of functional integration and specialized characteristics in HF are significantly changed in regions showing altered FC, an outcome which would interfere with brain network organization (p<0.05; 10,000 permutations). Brain dysfunction in HF extends to resting conditions, and autonomic, cognitive, and affective deficits may stem from altered FC and brain network organization that may contribute to higher morbidity and mortality in the condition. Our findings likely result from the prominent axonal and nuclear structural changes reported earlier in HF; protecting neural tissue may improve FC integrity, and thus, increase quality of life and reduce morbidity and mortality.

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