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Selective vulnerability of Rich Club brain regions is an organizational principle of structural connectivity loss in Huntington's disease

McColgan, P; Seunarine, KK; Razi, A; Cole, JH; Gregory, S; Durr, A; Roos, RA; ... Track-HD Investigators, .; + view all (2015) Selective vulnerability of Rich Club brain regions is an organizational principle of structural connectivity loss in Huntington's disease. Brain , 138 (Pt 11) pp. 3327-3344. 10.1093/brain/awv259. Green open access

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Abstract

Huntington's disease can be predicted many years before symptom onset, and thus makes an ideal model for studying the earliest mechanisms of neurodegeneration. Diffuse patterns of structural connectivity loss occur in the basal ganglia and cortex early in the disease. However, the organizational principles that underlie these changes are unclear. By understanding such principles we can gain insight into the link between the cellular pathology caused by mutant huntingtin and its downstream effect at the macroscopic level. The 'rich club' is a pattern of organization established in healthy human brains, where specific hub 'rich club' brain regions are more highly connected to each other than other brain regions. We hypothesized that selective loss of rich club connectivity might represent an organizing principle underlying the distributed pattern of structural connectivity loss seen in Huntington's disease. To test this hypothesis we performed diffusion tractography and graph theoretical analysis in a pseudo-longitudinal study of 50 premanifest and 38 manifest Huntington's disease participants compared with 47 healthy controls. Consistent with our hypothesis we found that structural connectivity loss selectively affected rich club brain regions in premanifest and manifest Huntington's disease participants compared with controls. We found progressive network changes across controls, premanifest Huntington's disease and manifest Huntington's disease characterized by increased network segregation in the premanifest stage and loss of network integration in manifest disease. These regional and whole brain network differences were highly correlated with cognitive and motor deficits suggesting they have pathophysiological relevance. We also observed greater reductions in the connectivity of brain regions that have higher network traffic and lower clustering of neighbouring regions. This provides a potential mechanism that results in a characteristic pattern of structural connectivity loss targeting highly connected brain regions with high network traffic and low clustering of neighbouring regions. Our findings highlight the role of the rich club as a substrate for the structural connectivity loss seen in Huntington's disease and have broader implications for understanding the connection between molecular and systems level pathology in neurodegenerative disease.

Type: Article
Title: Selective vulnerability of Rich Club brain regions is an organizational principle of structural connectivity loss in Huntington's disease
Location: England
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1093/brain/awv259
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awv259
Language: English
Additional information: © The Author (2015). Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of the Guarantors of Brain. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted reuse, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: Huntington’s disease, rich club, tractography
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Imaging Neuroscience
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > UCL Queen Square Institute of Neurology > Neurodegenerative Diseases
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Life Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Population Health Sciences > UCL GOS Institute of Child Health > Developmental Neurosciences Dept
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL BEAMS > Faculty of Engineering Science > Dept of Computer Science
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1473378
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