DOI: 10.1002/ana.26783 ISSN:

Abnormal thalamo‐cortical interactions in overlapping communities of migraine: an edge functional connectivity study

Wei Dai, Enchao Qiu, Xiaoxue Lin, Shuhua Zhang, Mingjie Zhang, Xun Han, Zhihua Jia, Hui Su, Xiangbing Bian, Xiao Zang, Meng Li, Qingkui Zhang, Ye Ran, Zihua Gong, Xiaolin Wang, Rongfei Wang, Lixia Tian, Zhao Dong, Shengyuan Yu
  • Neurology (clinical)
  • Neurology


Migraine has been demonstrated to exhibit abnormal functional connectivity of large‐scale brain networks, which is closely associated with its pathophysiology and hasn't yet been explored by edge functional connectivity. We employed an edge‐centric approach combined with motif analysis to evaluate higher‐order communication patterns of brain networks in migraine.


We investigated edge‐centric metrics in 108 interictal migraine patients and 71 healthy controls. We parcellated the brain into networks using independent component analysis. We applied edge graph construction, k‐means clustering, community overlap detection, graph‐theory‐based evaluations, and clinical correlation analysis. We conducted motif analysis to explore the interactions among regions, and a classification model to testify the specificity of edge‐centric results.


The normalized entropy of lateral thalamus was significantly increased in migraine, which was positively correlated with the baseline headache duration, and negatively correlated with headache duration reduction following preventive medications at 3‐month follow‐up. Network‐wise entropy of sensorimotor network was significantly elevated in migraine. The community similarity between lateral thalamus and postcentral gyrus was enhanced in migraine. Migraine showed overrepresented L‐shape and diverse motifs, and underrepresented forked motifs with lateral thalamus serving as the reference node. Furthermore, migraine presented with overrepresented L‐shape triads where postcentral gyrus shared different edges with lateral thalamus. The classification model showed entropy of lateral thalamus had the highest discriminative power, with area‐under‐the‐curve of 0.86.


Our findings indicated an abnormal higher‐order thalamo‐cortical communication pattern in migraine. The thalamo‐cortical‐somatosensory disturbance of concerted working may potentially lead to aberrant information flow and deficit pain processing of migraine.

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