Pei, Zhuo, Jing, Meng, Ma, Mo, Liu, Liang, Ni, Li (2019) The effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation on the whole-brain functional network of postherpetic neuralgia patients Medicine 98(25) e16105
The effects of repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS), the clinical treatment for postherpetic neuralgia (PHN), on whole-brain functional network of PHN patients is not fully understood.To explore the effects of rTMS on the whole-brain functional network of PHN patients.10 PHN patients (male/female: 5/5 Age: 63-79 years old) who received rTMS treatment were recruited in this study. High-resolution T1-weighted and functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI) were acquired before and after 10 consecutive rTMS sessions. The whole-brain functional connectivity networks were constructed by Pearson correlation. Global and node-level network parameters, which can reflect the topological organization of the brain network, were calculated to investigate the characteristics of whole-brain functional networks. Non-parametric paired signed rank tests were performed for the above network parameters with sex and age as covariates. P < .05 (with FDR correction for multi-comparison analysis) indicated a statistically significant difference. Correlation analysis was performed between the network parameters and clinical variables.The rTMS showed significant increase in characteristic path length and decrease of clustering coefficient, global, and local efficiency derived from the networks at some specific network sparsity, but it showed no significant difference for small-worldness. rTMS treatment showed significant differences in the brain regions related to sensory-motor, emotion, cognition, affection, and memory, as observed by changes in node degree, node betweenness, and node efficiency. Besides, node-level network parameters in some brain areas showed significant correlations with clinical variables including visual analog scales (VAS) and pain duration.rTMS has significant effects on the whole-brain functional network of PHN patients with a potential for suppression of sensory-motor function and improvement of emotion, cognition, affection, and memory functions.