Indexed on: 05 Feb '16Published on: 05 Feb '16Published in: Neuroradiology
Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has been used to examine the brain mechanisms of stroke patients with hemiplegia, but the relationship between functional connectivity (FC) and treatment-induced motor function recovery has not yet been fully investigated. This study aimed to identify the brain FC changes in stroke patients and study the relationship between FC and motor function assessment using the resting-state fMRI.Seventeen stroke patients with hemiplegia and fifteen healthy control subjects (HCSs) were recruited in this study. We compared the FC between the ipsilesional primary motor cortex (M1) and the whole brain of the patients with the FC of the HCSs and studied the FC changes in the patients before and after conventional rehabilitation and motor imagery therapy. Additionally, correlations between the FC change and motor function of the patients were studied.Compared to the HCSs, the FC in the patient group was significantly increased between the ipsilesional M1 and the ipsilesional inferior parietal cortex, frontal gyrus, supplementary motor area (SMA), and contralesional angular and decreased between the ipsilesional M1 and bilateral M1. After the treatment, the FC between the ipsilesional M1 and contralesional M1 increased while the FC between the ipsilesional M1 and ipsilesional SMA and paracentral lobule decreased. A statistically significant correlation was found between the FC change in the bilateral M1 and the Fugl-Meyer assessment (FMA) score change.Our results revealed an abnormal motor network after stroke and suggested that the FC could serve as a biomarker of motor function recovery in stroke patients with hemiplegia.