Disrupted dynamic functional network connectivity in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders

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BACKGROUND: Prenatal alcohol exposure (PAE) can result in harmful and long-lasting neurodevelopmental changes. Children with PAE or a fetal alcohol spectrum disorder (FASD) have decreased white matter volume and resting-state spectral power compared to typically developing controls (TDC) and impaired resting-state static functional connectivity. The impact of PAE on resting-state dynamic functional network connectivity (dFNC) is unknown.

METHODS: Using eyes-closed and eyes-open magnetoencephalography (MEG) resting-state data, global dFNC statistics and meta-states were examined in 89 children aged 6-16 years (51 TDC, 38 with FASD). Source analyzed MEG data were used as input to group spatial independent component analysis to derive functional networks from which the dFNC was calculated.

RESULTS: During eyes-closed, relative to TDC, participants with FASD spent a significantly longer time in state 2, typified by anticorrelation (i.e., decreased connectivity) within and between default mode network (DMN) and visual network (VN), and state 4, typified by stronger internetwork correlation. The FASD group exhibited greater dynamic fluidity and dynamic range (i.e., entered more states, changed from one meta-state to another more often, and traveled greater distances) than TDC. During eyes-open, TDC spent significantly more time in state 1, typified by positive intra- and interdomain connectivity with modest correlation within the frontal network (FN), while participants with FASD spent a larger fraction of time in state 2, typified by anticorrelation within and between DMN and VN and strong correlation within and between FN, attention network, and sensorimotor network.

CONCLUSIONS: There are important resting-state dFNC differences between children with FASD and TDC. Participants with FASD exhibited greater dynamic fluidity and dynamic range and spent more time in states typified by anticorrelation within and between DMN and VN, and more time in a state typified by high internetwork connectivity. Taken together, these network aberrations indicate that prenatal alcohol exposure has a global effect on resting-state connectivity.


Williams And Wilkins

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Alcoholism, clinical and experimental research



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