Clinical Research Papers:

Altered brain structural networks in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder children revealed by cortical thickness

Tian Liu, Yanni Chen, Chenxi Li, Youjun Li and Jue Wang _

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Oncotarget. 2017; 8:44785-44799. https://doi.org/10.18632/oncotarget.14734

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Tian Liu1,2,4, Yanni Chen3, Chenxi Li1,2, Youjun Li1,2 and Jue Wang1,2

1 The Key Laboratory of Biomedical Information Engineering of Ministry of Education, Institute of Biomedical Engineering, School of Life Science and Technology, Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, P. R. China

2 National Engineering Research Center of Health Care and Medical Devices, Xi’an Jiaotong University Branch, Xi’an, P. R. China

3 Xi’an Children’s Hospital, Xi’an, P. R. China

4 The First Affiliated Hospital of Xi’an Jiaotong University, Xi’an, P. R. China

Correspondence to:

Jue Wang, email:

Keywords: attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder; cortical thickness; magnetic resonance imaging; small-world; structural networks

Received: November 24, 2016 Accepted: January 11, 2017 Published: January 18, 2017


This study investigated the cortical thickness and topological features of human brain anatomical networks related to attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder. Data were collected from 40 attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder children and 40 normal control children. Interregional correlation matrices were established by calculating the correlations of cortical thickness between all pairs of cortical regions (68 regions) of the whole brain. Further thresholds were applied to create binary matrices to construct a series of undirected and unweighted graphs, and global, local, and nodal efficiencies were computed as a function of the network cost. These experimental results revealed abnormal cortical thickness and correlations in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder, and showed that the brain structural networks of attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder subjects had inefficient small-world topological features. Furthermore, their topological properties were altered abnormally. In particular, decreased global efficiency combined with increased local efficiency in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder children led to a disorder-related shift of the network topological structure toward regular networks. In addition, nodal efficiency, cortical thickness, and correlation analyses revealed that several brain regions were altered in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder patients. These findings are in accordance with a hypothesis of dysfunctional integration and segregation of the brain in patients with attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder and provide further evidence of brain dysfunction in attention deficit/hyperactivity disorder patients by observing cortical thickness on magnetic resonance imaging.

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