OBJECTIVE: To investigate alterations in the functional brain networks of patients with primary open-angle glaucoma (POAG) by using the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) voxelwise degree centrality (DC) method. MATERIALS AND METHODS: Thirteen patients with POAG and thirteen healthy subjects were recruited for this study, and each participant underwent a rs-fMRI scan. The voxelwise DC method was used to assess the features of spontaneous brain activity. The differences in the mean DC across brain regions between the POAG group and the healthy control group were analyzed, and the correlations between the DC values of altered brain regions and various clinical ophthalmic parameters were analyzed in the POAG group. RESULTS: Compared with healthy controls, patients with POAG exhibited significantly decreased DC values of the left superior frontal gyrus and the left postcentral gyrus as well as significantly increased DC values of the left superior occipital gyrus. In POAG patients, the DC value of the left superior occipital gyrus was significantly positively correlated with age (r = 0.571, P = 0.042) and negatively correlated with the intraocular pressure of the right eye (r=-0.625, P = 0.022). The DC value of the left superior frontal gyrus was significantly positively correlated with the right eye average cup-to-disc ratio (r = 0.683, P = 0.010), vertical cup-to-disc ratio (r = 0.779, P = 0.002), and pattern standard deviation (r = 0.567, P = 0.043). CONCLUSION: The results showed that altered DC values in three brain regions may reflect the underlying pathological mechanisms of POAG. Decreased DC values of the left superior occipital gyrus could be useful imaging markers for determining the extent of brain damage in POAG patients compared to healthy subjects.
Affiliated Eye Hospital of Nanchang University, Jiangxi Research Institute of Ophthalmology & Visual Science, Nanchang University, Nanchang, China.