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Title: A neuropsychosocial signature predicts longitudinal symptom changes in women with irritable bowel syndrome

Irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) is a common disorder of brain-gut interactions characterized by chronic abdominal pain, altered bowel movements, often accompanied by somatic and psychiatric comorbidities. We aimed to test the hypothesis that a baseline phenotype composed of multi-modal neuroimaging and clinical features predicts clinical improvement on the IBS Symptom Severity Scale (IBS-SSS) at 3 and 12 months without any targeted intervention. Female participants (N = 60) were identified as “improvers” (50-point decrease on IBS-SSS from baseline) or “non-improvers.” Data integration analysis using latent components (DIABLO) was applied to a training and test dataset to determine whether a limited number of sets of multiple correlated baseline’omics data types, including brain morphometry, anatomical connectivity, resting-state functional connectivity, and clinical features could accurately predict improver status. The derived predictive models predicted improvement status at 3-months and 12-months with 91% and 83% accuracy, respectively. Across both time points, non-improvers were classified as having greater correlated morphometry, anatomical connectivity and resting-state functional connectivity characteristics within salience and sensorimotor networks associated with greater pain unpleasantness, but lower default mode network integrity and connectivity. This suggests that non-improvers have a greater engagement of attentional systems to perseverate on painful visceral stimuli, predicting IBS exacerbation. The ability of more » baseline multimodal brain-clinical signatures to predict symptom trajectories may have implications in guiding integrative treatment in the age of precision medicine, such as treatments targeted at changing attentional systems such as mindfulness or cognitive behavioral therapy.

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Publication Date:
Journal Name:
Molecular Psychiatry
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
p. 1774-1791
Nature Publishing Group
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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  1. Abstract

    Despite recent advances, there is still a major need to better understand the interactions between brain function and chronic gut inflammation and its clinical implications. Alterations in executive function have previously been identified in several chronic inflammatory conditions, including inflammatory bowel diseases. Inflammation-associated brain alterations can be captured by connectome analysis. Here, we used the resting-state fMRI data from 222 participants comprising three groups (ulcerative colitis (UC), irritable bowel syndrome (IBS), and healthy controls (HC),N = 74 each) to investigate the alterations in functional brain wiring and cortical stability in UC compared to the two control groups and identify possible correlations of these alterations with clinical parameters. Globally, UC participants showed increased functional connectivity and decreased modularity compared to IBS and HC groups. Regionally, UC showed decreased eigenvector centrality in the executive control network (UC < IBS < HC) and increased eigenvector centrality in the visual network (UC > IBS > HC). UC also showed increased connectivity in dorsal attention, somatomotor network, and visual networks, and these enhanced subnetwork connectivities were able to distinguish UC participants from HCs and IBS with high accuracy. Dynamic functional connectome analysis revealed that UC showed enhanced cortical stability in the medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC), which correlated with severe depression and anxiety-related measures. Nonemore »of the observed brain changes were correlated with disease duration. Together, these findings are consistent with compromised functioning of networks involved in executive function and sensory integration in UC.

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  2. Abstract

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