Source Jiangsu Key Laboratory of Molecular Imaging and Functional Imaging, Department of Radiology, Zhongda Hospital, Medical School of Southeast University, Nanjing 210009, China.
Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) has facilitated the study of spontaneous brain activity by measuring low-frequency oscillations in blood-oxygen-level-dependent signals. Analyses of regional homogeneity (ReHo), which reflects the local synchrony of neural activity, have been used to reveal the mechanisms underlying the brain dysfunction in various neuropsychiatric diseases. However, it is not known whether the ReHo is altered in cirrhotic patients with minimal hepatic encephalopathy (MHE). We recruited 18 healthy controls and 18 patients with MHE. The ReHo was calculated to assess the strength of the local signal synchrony. Compared with the healthy controls, the patients with MHE had significantly decreased ReHo in the cuneus and adjacent precuneus, and left inferior parietal lobe, whereas the regions showing increased ReHo in patients with MHE included the left parahippocampal gyrus, right cerebellar vermis, and bilateral anterior cerebellar lobes. We found a positive correlation between the mean ReHo in the cuneus and adjacent precuneus and the score on the digit-symbol test in the patient group. In conclusion, the analysis of the regional homogeneity of resting-state brain activity may provide additional information with respect to a clinical definition of MHE.