1. Beijing Neurosurgical Institute, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
2. Department of Neurosurgery, Beijing Tiantan Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
3. State Key Laboratory of Brain and Cognitive Science, Institute of Biophysics, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
4. Sino-Danish College, University of Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
5. CAS Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
6. Beijing Institute for Brain Disorders Brain Tumor Center, Beijing, China
7. China National Clinical Research Center for Neurological Diseases, Beijing, China
Background and Objective: Large suprasellar tumors often compress the optic chiasm and give rise to visual impairment. Most patients have significantly improved visual function at 1 to 4 months after chiasmal decompression surgery, and only a few individuals regain normal vision at 1 week after surgery. How the recovery of visual function in these patients affects the visual cortex is not fully understood. In this study, we aimed to investigate alterations in brain functional connectivity (FC) in suprasellar tumor patients with visual improvement using resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI).
Methods: This longitudinal study was conducted on 13 suprasellar tumor patients who had ophthalmological examinations and rs-fMRI at the following time points: within 1-week preoperation (Pre-op), 1-week postoperation (Post-1w) and 1-month postoperation (Post-1m). The visual impairment score (VIS), local functional correlation (LCOR) and FC values were subjected to one-way ANOVA. Pearson correlation coefficients between changes in the LCOR and clinical factors were calculated.
Results: The VIS was significantly decreased at both Post-1w and Post-1m compared to that at Pre-op. Whole-brain analysis of LCOR values showed that the left V1 (primary occipital cortex) was increased significantly at Post-1m compared to that at Pre-op (p < 0.05, FDR corrected). ROI analysis exhibited a significant negative correlation between the LCOR and VIS changes at Post-1m compared to those at Pre-op (p < 0.05, r = - 0.60). FC analysis within the visual network showed that the FC strengths were significantly increased between the left V5 and the left V4, right V3a, left V3, left V2d, and right V5 at Post-1m compared to those at Pre-op (p < 0.05, FDR corrected). Additionally, the FC strengths were significantly increased between the left V5 and the left V1, right orbital-frontal gyrus and left posterior supramarginal gyrus at the whole-brain network level at Post-1m compared to those at Pre-op (p < 0.05, FDR corrected).
Conclusions: Postoperative visual improvement can be reflected by the increased FC of the visual cortex at Post-1w and Post-1m, especially at Post-1m. The LCOR value of the left V1 was associated with improved visual outcomes and may be used to objectively assess early visual recovery after chiasmal decompression at Post-1m.
Keywords: suprasellar tumor, visual impairment score (VIS), resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), local functional correlation (LCOR), functional connectivity (FC).