1 Department of Radiology, Fujian Medical University Union Hospital, 29 Xinquan Rd, Fuzhou 350001, China.
2 School of Information Science and Engineering, Central South University, Changsha, China.
3 Department of Radiology, The First Affiliated Hospital of Nanjing Medical University, 300 Guangzhou Rd, Nanjing 210029, China.
This study aimed to investigate whole-brain microstructural abnormalities and their correlation with cognitive impairment in patients with cirrhosis using diffusion kurtosis imaging (DKI).
SUBJECTS AND METHODS:
Eighteen patients with cirrhosis and 17 healthy control subjects underwent DKI. Cognition was measured using psychometric hepatic encephalopathy (HE) scores. Whole-brain voxel-based analyses were performed to investigate between-group differences in DKI-derived parameters, including mean kurtosis, axial kurtosis, and radial kurtosis.
Compared with control subjects, the patients with cirrhosis had lower psychometric HE scores, indicating cognitive impairments. The patients with cirrhosis had significantly lower global mean kurtosis, axial kurtosis, and radial kurtosis in gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM). Voxel-based analyses showed that patients with cirrhosis had decreased mean kurtosis, axial kurtosis, and radial kurtosis in diffuse GM regions (particularly in the cingulate cortex, precuneus, insular cortex, frontal areas, basal ganglia, hippocampus and parahippocampal gyrus, supramarginal gyrus and angular gyrus, postcentral and precentral gyrus, and cerebellum) and WM regions (particularly in the corpus callosum, internal capsule, frontal regions, parietal regions, occipital regions, and cerebellum). The DKI metrics were positively correlated with psychometric HE score among patients.
Lower DKI parameters suggest decreased brain microstructural complexity in patients with cirrhosis, which may contribute to the neurobiologic basis of cognitive impairment.