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The thalamus and brainstem act as key hubs in alterations of human brain network connectivity induced by mild propofol sedation

Gili, Tommaso, Saxena, Neeraj, Diukova, Ana, Murphy, Kevin, Hall, Judith Elizabeth and Wise, Richard Geoffrey 2013. The thalamus and brainstem act as key hubs in alterations of human brain network connectivity induced by mild propofol sedation. The Journal of Neuroscience 33 (9) , pp. 4024-4031. 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.3480-12.2013

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Abstract

Despite their routine use during surgical procedures, no consensus has yet been reached on the precise mechanisms by which hypnotic anesthetic agents produce their effects. Molecular, animal and human studies have suggested disruption of thalamocortical communication as a key component of anesthetic action at the brain systems level. Here, we used the anesthetic agent, propofol, to modulate consciousness and to evaluate differences in the interactions of remote neural networks during altered consciousness. We investigated the effects of propofol, at a dose that produced mild sedation without loss of consciousness, on spontaneous cerebral activity of 15 healthy volunteers using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), exploiting oscillations (<0.1 Hz) in blood oxygenation level-dependent signal across functionally connected brain regions. We considered the data as a graph, or complex network of nodes and links, and used eigenvector centrality (EC) to characterize brain network properties. The EC mapping of fMRI data in healthy humans under propofol mild sedation demonstrated a decrease of centrality of the thalamus versus an increase of centrality within the pons of the brainstem, highlighting the important role of these two structures in regulating consciousness. Specifically, the decrease of thalamus centrality results from its disconnection from a widespread set of cortical and subcortical regions, while the increase of brainstem centrality may be a consequence of its increased influence, in the mildly sedated state, over a few highly central cortical regions key to the default mode network such as the posterior and anterior cingulate cortices.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre (CUBRIC)
Medicine
Psychology
Neuroscience and Mental Health Research Institute (NMHRI)
Physics and Astronomy
Subjects: R Medicine > RC Internal medicine > RC0321 Neuroscience. Biological psychiatry. Neuropsychiatry
R Medicine > RM Therapeutics. Pharmacology
Publisher: Society for Neuroscience
ISSN: 0270-6474
Last Modified: 08 May 2019 14:03
URI: http://orca.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/45551

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