Jinjing Wang, Hanhong Zhang, Yirong Fang, Yiran Dong, Xian Chao, Lulu Xiao, Shiyi Jiang, Dawei Yin, Peng Wang, Wen Sun, Xinfeng Liu

Functional connectome hierarchy of thalamus impacts fatigue in acute stroke patients

  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience
  • Cognitive Neuroscience

Abstract This study aimed to explore the topographic features of thalamic subregions, functional connectomes and hierarchical organizations between thalamus and cortex in poststroke fatigue patients. We consecutively recruited 121 acute ischemic stroke patients (mean age: 59 years) and 46 healthy controls matched for age, sex, and educational level. The mean age was 59 years (range 19–80) and 38% of acute stroke patients were females. Resting-state functional and structural magnetic resonance imaging were conducted on all participants. The fatigue symptoms were measured using the Fatigue Severity Scale. The thalamic functional subdivisions corresponding to the canonical functional network were defined using the winner-take-all parcellation method. Thalamic functional gradients were derived using the diffusion embedding analysis. The results suggested abnormal functional connectivity of thalamic subregions primarily located in the temporal lobe, posterior cingulate gyrus, parietal lobe, and precuneus. The thalamus showed a gradual increase from the medial to the lateral in all groups, but the right thalamus shifted more laterally in poststroke fatigue patients than in non- poststroke fatigue patients. Poststroke fatigue patients also had higher gradient scores in the somatomotor network and the right medial prefrontal and premotor thalamic regions, but lower values in the right lateral prefrontal thalamus. The findings suggested that poststroke fatigue patients had altered functional connectivity and thalamocortical hierarchical organizations, providing new insights into the neural mechanisms of the thalamus.

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