Functional connectome fingerprinting and stability in multiple sclerosis

Maron Mantwill, Susanna Asseyer, Claudia Chien, Joseph Kuchling, Tanja Schmitz-Hübsch, Alexander U Brandt, John-Dylan Haynes, Friedemann Paul and Carsten Finke

Background: Functional connectome fingerprinting can identify individuals based on their functional connectome. Previous studies relied mostly on short intervals between fMRI acquisitions.

Objective: This cohort study aimed to determine the stability of connectome-based identification and their underlying signatures in patients with multiple sclerosis and healthy individuals with long follow-up intervals.

Methods: We acquired resting-state fMRI in 70 patients with multiple sclerosis and 273 healthy individuals with long follow-up times (up to 4 and 9 years, respectively). Using functional connectome fingerprinting, we examined the stability of the connectome and additionally investigated which regions, connections and networks supported individual identification. Finally, we predicted cognitive and behavioural outcome based on functional connectivity.

Results: Multiple sclerosis patients showed connectome stability and identification accuracies similar to healthy individuals, with longer time delays between imaging sessions being associated with accuracies dropping from 89% to 76%. Lesion load, brain atrophy or cognitive impairment did not affect identification accuracies within the range of disease severity studied. Connections from the fronto-parietal and default mode network were consistently most distinctive, i.e., informative of identity. The functional connectivity also allowed the prediction of individual cognitive performances.

Conclusion: Our results demonstrate that discriminatory signatures in the functional connectome are stable over extended periods of time in multiple sclerosis, resulting in similar identification accuracies and distinctive long-lasting functional connectome fingerprinting signatures in patients and healthy individuals.

Mult Scler J Exp Transl Clin. 9(3):20552173231195879 (2023)


Connectome Fingerprintingfunctional connectomemultiple sclerosisnormative variationresting state fMRII
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