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Clinical Article
Exploring the central mechanism of insomnia through the functional connectivity of locus coeruleus: A resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study
CHEN Zhaoyi  YIN Xuejiao  JIANG Tongfei  SONG Zhangxiao  WANG Guiling  GUO Jing 

Cite this article as: Chen ZY, Yin XJ, Jiang TF, et al. Exploring the central mechanism of insomnia through the functional connectivity of locus coeruleus: A resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study[J]. Chin J Magn Reson Imaging, 2022, 13(11): 48-52. DOI:10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2022.11.009.

[Abstract] Objective To explore the functional connectivity (FC) changes of the locus coeruleus (LC) in the resting state of insomnia patients utilizing functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI).Materials and Methods Fifty-nine patients with insomnia disorder (ID) and 30 healthy controls were included. Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index (PSQI), Hamilton Depression Scale (HAMD), Hamilton Anxiety Scale (HAMA), and Hyperarousal Scale (HAS) scores were assessed, and resting-state fMRI data were collected. The FC values with all voxels in the brain were calculated using the LC as the region of interest, and the differences between the two groups were compared using a t-test. The FC values of the brain regions with differences were extracted and correlated with the clinical scale scores.Results There were no statistical differences in age, gender, or education between insomnia patients and healthy controls. In comparison to the healthy group, ID patients had increased FC between the LC and the right middle frontal gyrus (GRF correction, P-cluster<0.001, P-cluster<0.05), which was positively correlated with PSQI (r=0.40), HAMD (r=0.39), HAMA (r=0.39), and HAS (r=0.46) scores (all P<0.001).Conclusions Enhanced FC of the LC with the right middle frontal gyrus may be associated with hyperarousal states and may contribute to anxiety and depression in insomnia patients, resulting in decreased sleep quality. This study provided an imaging basis for the hyperarousal theory, demonstrated the important role of LC in the sleep-wake process, further revealed the brain functional mechanism of insomnia, and offered new ideas for the selection treatment targets of insomnia.
[Keywords] insomnia;locus coeruleus;functional connectivity;mechanism study;hyperarousal;resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging;magnetic resonance imaging

CHEN Zhaoyi1   YIN Xuejiao1   JIANG Tongfei1   SONG Zhangxiao2   WANG Guiling1   GUO Jing1*  

1 Acupuncture and moxibustion Center, Beijing hospital of traditional Chinese Medicine, Capital Medical University, Beijing 100010, China

2 Beijing University of Chinese Medicine, Beijing 100029, China

Guo J, E-mail:

Conflicts of interest   None.

Received  2022-07-13
Accepted  2022-10-09
DOI: 10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2022.11.009
Cite this article as: Chen ZY, Yin XJ, Jiang TF, et al. Exploring the central mechanism of insomnia through the functional connectivity of locus coeruleus: A resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study[J]. Chin J Magn Reson Imaging, 2022, 13(11): 48-52.DOI:10.12015/issn.1674-8034.2022.11.009

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