DOI: 10.1101/463323Nov 7, 2018Paper

Functional network dynamics in a neurodevelopmental disorder of known genetic origin

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
Erin HawkinsDuncan Astle


Cognitive processing depends on the temporal co-ordination of functional brain networks. This fundamental aspect of neurophysiology potentially bridges the genetic regulation of neuronal activity and developmental cognitive impairments. We investigated brain network dynamics in a neurodevelopmental disorder of known genetic origin, by comparing individuals with ZDHHC9-associated intellectual disability to individuals with no known impairment. We used Hidden Markov Modelling on magnetoencephalography (MEG) data, at rest and during auditory oddball stimulation, to characterise transient network dynamics. At rest, network dynamics distinguished the groups, with ZDHHC9 participants showing longer state activation. Crucially, ZDHHC9 gene expression levels predicted the group differences across networks, supporting an association between molecular pathology and neurophysiology. In contrast, network dynamics during auditory oddball stimulation did not show this association. We demonstrate a link between brain network dynamics and regional gene expression, and present a valuable method for understanding the real-time neural mechanisms linking genetic variation to cognitive difficulties.

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