Edinburgh Imaging

15 Dec 20. Featured Paper

Brain network reorganisation & spatial lesion distribution in systemic lupus erythematosus.

Link to paper on Lupus.



Maria del C Valdés Hernández, Keith Smith, Mark E Bastin, E. Nicole Amft, Stuart H Ralston, Joanna M Wardlaw, Stewart J Wiseman



Objective: This work investigates network organisation of brain structural connectivity in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE) relative to healthy controls & its putative association with lesion distribution & disease indicators.

Methods: White matter hyperintensity (WMH) segmentation & connectomics were performed in 47 patients with SLE & 47 healthy age-matched controls from structural & diffusion MRI data.

Network nodes were divided into hierarchical tiers based on numbers of connections.

Results were compared between patients & controls to assess for differences in brain network organisation.

Voxel-based analyses of the spatial distribution of WMH in relation to network measures & SLE disease indicators were conducted.

Results: Despite inter-individual differences in brain network organization observed across the study sample, the connectome networks of SLE patients had larger proportion of connections in the peripheral nodes.

SLE patients had statistically larger numbers of links in their networks with generally larger fractional anisotropy weights (i.e. a measure of white matter integrity) & less tendency to aggregate than those of healthy controls.

The voxels exhibiting connectomic differences were coincident with WMH clusters, particularly the left hemisphere’s intersection between the anterior limb of the internal & external capsules.

Moreover, these voxels also associated more strongly with disease indicators.

Conclusion: Our results indicate network differences reflective of compensatory reorganization of the neural circuits, reflecting adaptive or extended neuroplasticity in SLE.


  • Connectome

  • Network analysis

  • SLE



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Featured paper: Brain network reorganisation & spatial lesion distribution in systemic lupus erythematosus.  @EdinUniBrainSci @SAGEJournals #SLE