by Zhiqun Wang, Peipeng Liang, Xiuqin Jia, Guangwei Jin, Haiqing Song, Ying Han, Jie Lu, Kuncheng Li
The baseline and longitudinal changes of the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) connectivity were assessed in order to clarify the neural mechanism of mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Twenty-eight right-handed subjects (14 MCI patients and 14 healthy elders) participated in this study. Clinical and neuropsychological examinations were performed on all the subjects. PCC functional connectivity was studied by examining the correlation between low frequency fMRI signal fluctuations in the PCC and those in all the other brain regions. Additionally, we traced all the MCI patients and compared their PCC connectivity in the initial stage and that in 3 years later. We also explored the relationship between the PCC functional connectivity strength and cognitive performances. Our results are as follows: Functional connectivity between the PCC and a set of regions is decreased in MCI patients. Most of these regions are within the default mode network (DMN). Three years later, the regions of superior frontal gyrus (SFG) and middle frontal gyrus (MFG) presented further decreased connectivity to the PCC in MCI. In addition, we also find enhanced functional connectivity between PCC and medial prefrontal cortex (MPFC), PCC and anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in MCI patients. At last, our research also shows that the PCC connectivity with some regions significantly correlates with the cognitive performances of patients as measured by mini-mental state examination (MMSE), and California verbal learning test (CVLT) scores. The baseline and longitudinal changes of the PCC connectivity in our study suggest that impairment and compensation coexist in the disease progress of MCI patients.