Altered Functional Connectivity of the Default Mode and Frontal Control Networks in Patients with Insomnia

SOURCE: CNS Neuroscience & Therapeutics. 29(8):2318-2326, 2023 08.

AUTHORS: Zheng H; Zhou Q; Yang J; Lu Q; Qiu H; He C; Yan H

AIMS: The purpose of this study was to investigate the association between spontaneous regional activity and brain functional connectivity, which maybe can distinguish insomnia while being responsive to repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) treatment effects in insomnia patients.

METHODS: Using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging data from 38 chronic insomnia patients and 36 healthy volunteers, we compared the amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) between the two groups. Of all the patients with insomnia, 20 received rTMS for 4 weeks, while 18 patients received a 4-week pseudo-stimulation intervention. Seed-based resting-state functional connectivity (RSFC) analysis was conducted from regions with significantly different ALFF values, and the association between RSFC value and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index score was determined.

RESULTS: Our results revealed that insomnia patients presented a significantly higher ALFF value in the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), whereas a significantly lower ALFF value was observed in the superior parietal lobule (SPL). Moreover, significantly reduced RSFC was detected from both PCC to prefrontal cortex connections, as well as from left SPL to frontal pole connections. In addition, RSFC from frontal pole to left SPL negatively predicted sleep quality (PSQI) and treatment response in patients’ group.

CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest that disrupted frontoparietal network connectivity may be a biomarker for insomnia in middle-aged adults, reinforcing the potential of rTMS targeting the frontal lobes. Monitoring pretreatment RSFC could offer greater insight into how rTMS treatments are responded to by insomniacs.