Abnormalities of brain structure and function in cervical spondylosis: a multi-modal voxel-based meta-analysis

Lulu Cheng, Jianxin Zhang, Hongyu Xi, Mengting Li, Su Hu, Wenting Yuan, Peng Wang, Lanfen Chen*, Linlin Zhan*, Xize Jia*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Background: Previous neuroimaging studies have revealed structural and functional brain abnormalities in patients with cervical spondylosis (CS). However, the results are divergent and inconsistent. Therefore, the present study conducted a multi-modal meta-analysis to investigate the consistent structural and functional brain alterations in CS patients. Methods: A comprehensive literature search was conducted in five databases to retrieve relevant resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI), structural MRI and diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies that measured brain functional and structural differences between CS patients and healthy controls (HCs). Separate and multimodal meta-analyses were implemented, respectively, by employing Anisotropic Effect-size Signed Differential Mapping software. Results: 13 rs-fMRI studies that used regional homogeneity, amplitude of low-frequency fluctuations (ALFF) and fractional ALFF, seven voxel-based morphometry (VBM) studies and one DTI study were finally included in the present research. However, no studies on surface-based morphometry (SBM) analysis were included in this research. Due to the insufficient number of SBM and DTI studies, only rs-fMRI and VBM meta-analyses were conducted. The results of rs-fMRI meta-analysis showed that compared to HCs, CS patients demonstrated decreased regional spontaneous brain activities in the right lingual gyrus, right middle temporal gyrus (MTG), left inferior parietal gyrus and right postcentral gyrus (PoCG), while increased activities in the right medial superior frontal gyrus, bilateral middle frontal gyrus and right precuneus. VBM meta-analysis detected increased GMV in the right superior temporal gyrus (STG) and right paracentral lobule (PCL), while decreased GMV in the left supplementary motor area and left MTG in CS patients. The multi-modal meta-analysis revealed increased GMV together with decreased regional spontaneous brain activity in the left PoCG, right STG and PCL among CS patients. Conclusion: This meta-analysis revealed that compared to HCs, CS patients had significant alterations in GMV and regional spontaneous brain activity. The altered brain regions mainly included the primary visual cortex, the default mode network and the sensorimotor area, which may be associated with CS patients' symptoms of sensory deficits, blurred vision, cognitive impairment and motor dysfunction. The findings may contribute to understanding the underlying pathophysiology of brain dysfunction and provide references for early diagnosis and treatment of CS. Systematic review registration: https://www.crd.york.ac.uk/PROSPERO/, CRD42022370967.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1415411
JournalFrontiers in Neuroscience
Publication statusPublished - 2024

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Copyright © 2024 Cheng, Zhang, Xi, Li, Hu, Yuan, Wang, Chen, Zhan and Jia.

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