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Authors: Ellwardt, Erik
Muthuraman, Muthuraman
Gonzalez-Escamilla, Gabriel
Chirumamilla, Venkata Chaitanya
Luessi, Felix
Bittner, Stefan
Zipp, Frauke
Groppa, Sergiu
Fleischer, Vinzenz
Title: Network alterations underlying anxiety symptoms in early multiple sclerosis
Online publication date: 10-Feb-2023
Year of first publication: 2022
Language: english
Abstract: Background Anxiety, often seen as comorbidity in multiple sclerosis (MS), is a frequent neuropsychiatric symptom and essentially affects the overall disease burden. Here, we aimed to decipher anxiety-related networks functionally connected to atrophied areas in patients suffering from MS. Methods Using 3-T MRI, anxiety-related atrophy maps were generated by correlating longitudinal cortical thinning with the severity of anxiety symptoms in MS patients. To determine brain regions functionally connected to these maps, we applied a technique termed “atrophy network mapping”. Thereby, the anxiety-related atrophy maps were projected onto a large normative connectome (n = 1000) performing seed‐based functional connectivity. Finally, an instructed threat paradigm was conducted with regard to neural excitability and effective connectivity, using transcranial magnetic stimulation combined with high-density electroencephalography. Results Thinning of the left dorsal prefrontal cortex was the only region that was associated with higher anxiety levels. Atrophy network mapping identified functional involvement of bilateral prefrontal cortex as well as amygdala and hippocampus. Structural equation modeling confirmed that the volumes of these brain regions were significant determinants that influence anxiety symptoms in MS. We additionally identified reduced information flow between the prefrontal cortex and the amygdala at rest, and pathologically increased excitability in the prefrontal cortex in MS patients as compared to controls. Conclusion Anxiety-related prefrontal cortical atrophy in MS leads to a specific network alteration involving structures that resemble known neurobiological anxiety circuits. These findings elucidate the emergence of anxiety as part of the disease pathology and might ultimately enable targeted treatment approaches modulating brain networks in MS.
DDC: 610 Medizin
610 Medical sciences
Institution: Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz
Department: FB 04 Medizin
Place: Mainz
Version: Published version
Publication type: Zeitschriftenaufsatz
License: CC BY
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Journal: Journal of neuroinflammation
Pages or article number: 119
Publisher: BioMed Central
Publisher place: London
Issue date: 2022
ISSN: 1742-2094
Publisher DOI: 10.1186/s12974-022-02476-0
Appears in collections:DFG-491381577-G

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