Brain structural alterations are distributed following functional, anatomic and genetic connectivity

Franco Cauda, Andrea Nani, Jordi Manuello, Enrico Premi, Sara Palermo, Karina Tatu, Sergio Duca, Peter T. Fox, Tommaso Costa

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


The pathological brain is characterized by distributed morphological or structural alterations in the grey matter, which tend to follow identifiable network-like patterns. We analysed the patterns formed by these alterations (increased and decreased grey matter values detected with the voxel-based morphometry technique) conducting an extensive transdiagnostic search of voxel-based morphometry studies in a large variety of brain disorders. We devised an innovative method to construct the networks formed by the structurally co-altered brain areas, which can be considered as pathological structural co-alteration patterns, and to compare these patterns with three associated types of connectivity profiles (functional, anatomical, and genetic). Our study provides transdiagnostical evidence that structural co-alterations are influenced by connectivity constraints rather than being randomly distributed. Analyses show that although all the three types of connectivity taken together can account for and predict with good statistical accuracy, the shape and temporal development of the co-alteration patterns, functional connectivity offers the better account of the structural co-alteration, followed by anatomic and genetic connectivity. These results shed new light on the possible mechanisms at the root of neuropathological processes and open exciting prospects in the quest for a better understanding of brain disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3211-3232
Number of pages22
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • anatomical connectivity
  • brain alterations
  • brain connectivity
  • brain disorders
  • functional connectivity
  • genetic co-expressions
  • structural co-alteration

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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