: Introduction: Graph theory has been applied to study the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) since it provides global and focal measures of brain network properties that are affected by MS. Typically, the connection strength and, consequently, the network properties are computed by counting the number of streamlines (NOS) connecting couples of gray matter regions. However, recent studies have shown that this method is not quantitative. Methods: We evaluated diffusion-based microstructural measures extracted from three different models to assess the network properties in a group of 66 MS patients and 64 healthy subjects. Besides, we assessed their correlation with patients' disability and with a biological measure of neuroaxonal damage. Results: Graph metrics extracted from connectomes weighted by intra-axonal microstructural components were the most sensitive to MS pathology and the most related to clinical disability. In contrast, measures of network segregation extracted from the connectomes weighted by maps describing extracellular diffusivity were the most related to serum concentration of neurofilament light chain. Network properties assessed with NOS were neither sensitive to MS pathology nor correlated with clinical and pathological measures of disease impact in MS patients. Conclusion: Using tractometry-derived graph measures in MS patients, we identified a set of metrics based on microstructural components that are highly sensitive to the disease and that provide sensitive correlates of clinical and biological deterioration in MS patients. Impact statement Graph theory has been widely used to study the alterations in the structural connectivity of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Usually, brain graphs used for the extraction of network metrics are created by counting the number of streamlines connecting gray matter regions, however, this method is not quantitative. In this study, we used tractometry to average the values of diffusion-based microstructural maps along the reconstructed streamlines. Our results show that network metrics extracted from the connectomes weighted on microstructural maps provide sensitive information to MS pathology, which correlate with clinical and biological measures of disease impact.

Microstructure-Weighted Connectomics in Multiple Sclerosis

Bosticardo, Sara;Schiavi, Simona;Daducci, Alessandro;
2021-01-01

Abstract

: Introduction: Graph theory has been applied to study the pathophysiology of multiple sclerosis (MS) since it provides global and focal measures of brain network properties that are affected by MS. Typically, the connection strength and, consequently, the network properties are computed by counting the number of streamlines (NOS) connecting couples of gray matter regions. However, recent studies have shown that this method is not quantitative. Methods: We evaluated diffusion-based microstructural measures extracted from three different models to assess the network properties in a group of 66 MS patients and 64 healthy subjects. Besides, we assessed their correlation with patients' disability and with a biological measure of neuroaxonal damage. Results: Graph metrics extracted from connectomes weighted by intra-axonal microstructural components were the most sensitive to MS pathology and the most related to clinical disability. In contrast, measures of network segregation extracted from the connectomes weighted by maps describing extracellular diffusivity were the most related to serum concentration of neurofilament light chain. Network properties assessed with NOS were neither sensitive to MS pathology nor correlated with clinical and pathological measures of disease impact in MS patients. Conclusion: Using tractometry-derived graph measures in MS patients, we identified a set of metrics based on microstructural components that are highly sensitive to the disease and that provide sensitive correlates of clinical and biological deterioration in MS patients. Impact statement Graph theory has been widely used to study the alterations in the structural connectivity of multiple sclerosis (MS) patients. Usually, brain graphs used for the extraction of network metrics are created by counting the number of streamlines connecting gray matter regions, however, this method is not quantitative. In this study, we used tractometry to average the values of diffusion-based microstructural maps along the reconstructed streamlines. Our results show that network metrics extracted from the connectomes weighted on microstructural maps provide sensitive information to MS pathology, which correlate with clinical and biological measures of disease impact.
diffusion microstructure
graph theory
multiple sclerosis
structural connectivity
tractography
tractometry
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/11562/1057643
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