Spinal fMRI demonstrates segmental organisation of functionally connected networks in the cervical spinal cord: A test-retest reliability study

Kowalczyk, Olivia S., Medina, Sonia, Tsivaka, Dimitra, McMahon, Stephen B., Williams, Steven C. R., Brooks, Jonathan C. W. ORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-3335-6209, Lythgoe, David J. and Howard, Matthew A. (2024) Spinal fMRI demonstrates segmental organisation of functionally connected networks in the cervical spinal cord: A test-retest reliability study. Human Brain Mapping, 45 (2). ISSN 1065-9471

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Resting functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have identified intrinsic spinal cord activity, which forms organised motor (ventral) and sensory (dorsal) resting-state networks. However, to facilitate the use of spinal fMRI in, for example, clinical studies, it is crucial to first assess the reliability of the method, particularly given the unique anatomical, physiological, and methodological challenges associated with acquiring the data. Here, we characterise functional connectivity relationships in the cervical cord and assess their between-session test–retest reliability in 23 young healthy volunteers. Resting-state networks were estimated in two ways (1) by estimating seed-to-voxel connectivity maps and (2) by calculating seed-to-seed correlations. Seed regions corresponded to the four grey matter horns (ventral/dorsal and left/right) of C5–C8 segmental levels. Test–retest reliability was assessed using the intraclass correlation coefficient. Spatial overlap of clusters derived from seed-to-voxel analysis between sessions was examined using Dice coefficients. Following seed-to-voxel analysis, we observed distinct unilateral dorsal and ventral organisation of cervical spinal resting-state networks that was largely confined in the rostro–caudal extent to each spinal segmental level, with more sparse connections observed between segments. Additionally, strongest correlations were observed between within-segment ipsilateral dorsal–ventral connections, followed by within-segment dorso–dorsal and ventro–ventral connections. Test–retest reliability of these networks was mixed. Reliability was poor when assessed on a voxelwise level, with more promising indications of reliability when examining the average signal within clusters. Reliability of correlation strength between seeds was highly variable, with the highest reliability achieved in ipsilateral dorsal–ventral and dorso-dorsal/ventro–ventral connectivity. However, the spatial overlap of networks between sessions was excellent. We demonstrate that while test–retest reliability of cervical spinal resting-state networks is mixed, their spatial extent is similar across sessions, suggesting that these networks are characterised by a consistent spatial representation over time.

Item Type: Article
Additional Information: Funding Information: This article represents independent research funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) Experimental Medicine Challenge Grant (MR/N026969/1) and the National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) Maudsley Biomedical Research Centre at South London and Maudsley NHS Foundation Trust and King's College London. The views expressed are those of the authors and not necessarily those of the NHS, the NIHR, the MRC, or the Department of Health and Social Care.
Uncontrolled Keywords: reliability,resting-state fmri,spinal fmri,test–retest,anatomy,radiological and ultrasound technology,radiology nuclear medicine and imaging,neurology,clinical neurology ,/dk/atira/pure/subjectarea/asjc/2700/2702
Faculty \ School: Faculty of Social Sciences > School of Psychology
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Depositing User: LivePure Connector
Date Deposited: 13 Mar 2023 12:30
Last Modified: 04 Mar 2024 18:32
URI: https://ueaeprints.uea.ac.uk/id/eprint/91493
DOI: 10.1101/2023.02.27.530185


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