PURPOSE: Patients with Crohn's disease (CD) undergo multiple gadolinium-based contrast agent injections across their lifespan to enhance signal intensity of the intestinal wall and differentiate active from quiescent inflammatory disease. Thus, CD patients are prone to gadolinium accumulation in the brain and represent a non-neurological population to explore gadolinium-related brain toxicity. Possible effects are expected to be greater on the cerebellar network due to the high propensity of the dentate nucleus to accumulate gadolinium. Herein, we provide a whole-brain network analysis of resting-state fMRI dynamics in long-term quiescent CD patients with normal renal function and MRI evidence of gadolinium deposition in the brain.
METHODS: Fifteen patients with CD and 16 healthy age- and gender-matched controls were enrolled in this study. Relevant resting-state networks (RSNs) were identified using independent component analysis (ICA) from functional magnetic resonance imaging data. An unpaired two-sample t test (with age and sex as nuisance variables) was used to investigate between different RSNs. Clusters were determined by using threshold-free cluster enhancement and a family-wise error corrected cluster significance threshold of p < 0.05.
RESULTS: Patients showed significantly decreased resting-state functional connectivity (p < 0.05, FWE corrected) of several regions of the right frontoparietal (FPR) and the dorsal attention (DAN) RSNs. No differences between the two groups were found in the functional connectivity maps of all the other RSNs, including the cerebellar network.
CONCLUSION: Our findings suggest a non-significant impact of gadolinium deposition on within-network cerebellar functional connectivity of long-term quiescent CD patients.