Title : Inflammation affects dynamic functional network connectivity patterns changes via plasma NFL in cognitive impairment patients
Introduction: Plasma neurofilament light chain (NFL) is a biomarker of neurodegenerative diseases and inflammation such as Alzheimer's disease (AD). However, the underlying neural mechanisms by which NFL affects cognitive function remain unclear. In this study, we investigated the effects of inflammation on cognitive integrity in patients with cognitive impairment through the functional interaction of plasma NFL with large-scale brain networks.
Methods: This study included 29 healthy controls, 55 LowNFL groups, and 55 HighNFL groups. Group independent component analysis (ICA) was applied to the resting state fMRI data, and 40 independent components (IC) were extracted for the whole brain. Next, the dFNC of each subject was estimated using the sliding-window method and k-means clustering, as well as five dynamic functional states were identified. Finally, we applied mediation analysis to investigate the relationship between plasma NFL and dFNC indicators, and cognitive scales.
Results: The present study explored the dynamic of whole-brain FNC of CN, LowNFL and HighNFL patients, and highlighted the temporal properties of dFNC states in relation to psychological scales. A potential mechanism for the association between dFNC indicators and NFL levels in cognitively impaired patients.
Conclusion: Our findings suggested the decreased ability of information processing and communication in HighNFL group, which help us to understand their abnormal affective and cognitive functions clinically. Characteristic changes in inflammation-coupled dynamic brain network analysis may provide alternative biomarker for assessment of disease severity of cognitive impairment.