Network Hyperexcitability in Early Alzheimer’s Disease: Is Functional Connectivity a Potential Biomarker?

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Network hyperexcitability (NH) is an important feature of the pathophysiology of Alzheimer’s disease. Functional connectivity (FC) of brain networks has been proposed as a potential biomarker for NH. Here we use a whole brain computational model and resting-state MEG recordings to investigate the relation between hyperexcitability and FC. Oscillatory brain activity was simulated with a Stuart Landau model on a network of 78 interconnected brain regions. FC was quantified with amplitude envelope correlation (AEC) and phase coherence (PC). MEG was recorded in 18 subjects with subjective cognitive decline (SCD) and 18 subjects with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Functional connectivity was determined with the corrected AECc and phase lag index (PLI), in the 4–8 Hz and the 8–13 Hz bands. The excitation/inhibition balance in the model had a strong effect on both AEC and PC. This effect was different for AEC and PC, and was influenced by structural coupling strength and frequency band. Empirical FC matrices of SCD and MCI showed a good correlation with model FC for AEC, but less so for PC. For AEC the fit was best in the hyperexcitable range. We conclude that FC is sensitive to changes in E/I balance. The AEC was more sensitive than the PLI, and results were better for the thetaband than the alpha band. This conclusion was supported by fitting the model to empirical data. Our study justifies the use of functional connectivity measures as surrogate markers for E/I balance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)595-612
Number of pages18
JournalBrain Topography
Issue number4
Early online date2023
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • Alzheimer’s disease
  • Brain networks
  • Computational model
  • E/I balance
  • EEG
  • Functional connectivity
  • MEG
  • Mild cognitive impairment

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