Information processing speed in multiple sclerosis: Relevance of default mode network dynamics

Q. van Geest, L. Douw, S. van ‘t Klooster, C. E. Leurs, H. M. Genova, G. R. Wylie, M. D. Steenwijk, J. Killestein, J. J. G. Geurts, H. E. Hulst

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Objective: To explore the added value of dynamic functional connectivity (dFC) of the default mode network (DMN) during resting-state (RS), during an information processing speed (IPS) task, and the within-subject difference between these conditions, on top of conventional brain measures in explaining IPS in people with multiple sclerosis (pwMS). Methods: In 29 pwMS and 18 healthy controls, IPS was assessed with the Letter Digit Substitution Test and Stroop Card I and combined into an IPS-composite score. White matter (WM), grey matter (GM) and lesion volume were measured using 3 T MRI. WM integrity was assessed with diffusion tensor imaging. During RS and task-state fMRI (i.e. symbol digit modalities task, IPS), stationary functional connectivity (sFC; average connectivity over the entire time series) and dFC (variation in connectivity using a sliding window approach) of the DMN was calculated, as well as the difference between both conditions (i.e. task-state minus RS; ΔsFC-DMN and ΔdFC-DMN). Regression analysis was performed to determine the most important predictors for IPS. Results: Compared to controls, pwMS performed worse on IPS-composite (p = 0.022), had lower GM volume (p < 0.05) and WM integrity (p < 0.001), but no alterations in sFC and dFC at the group level. In pwMS, 52% of variance in IPS-composite could be predicted by cortical volume (β = 0.49, p = 0.01) and ΔdFC-DMN (β = 0.52, p < 0.01). After adding dFC of the DMN to the model, the explained variance in IPS increased with 26% (p < 0.01). Conclusion: On top of conventional brain measures, dFC from RS to task-state explains additional variance in IPS. This highlights the potential importance of the DMN to adapt upon cognitive demands to maintain intact IPS in pwMS.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)507-515
JournalNeuroImage: Clinical
Publication statusPublished - 2018

Cite this