A cross-sectional case-control study on the structural connectome in recovered hospitalized COVID-19 patients

Elke Lathouwers, Ahmed Radwan, Jeroen Blommaert, Lara Stas, Bruno Tassignon, Sabine D Allard, F De Ridder, E De Waele, N Hoornaert, P Lacor, R Mertens, Maarten Naeyaert, Hubert Raeymaekers, Lucie Seyler, A M Vanbinst, Lien Van Liedekerke, Jeroen Van Schependom, Peter Van Schuerbeek, Steven Provyn, Bart RoelandsMarie Vandekerckhove, R Meeusen, Stefan Sunaert, G Nagels, J De Mey, Kevin De Pauw

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COVID-19 can induce neurological sequelae, negatively affecting the quality of life. Unravelling this illness's impact on structural brain connectivity, white-matter microstructure (WMM), and cognitive performance may help elucidate its implications. This cross-sectional study aimed to investigate differences in these factors between former hospitalised COVID-19 patients (COV) and healthy controls. Group differences in structural brain connectivity were explored using Welch-two sample t-tests and two-sample Mann-Whitney U tests. Multivariate linear models were constructed (one per region) to examine fixel-based group differences. Differences in cognitive performance between groups were investigated using Wilcoxon Rank Sum tests. Possible effects of bundle-specific FD measures on cognitive performance were explored using a two-group path model. No differences in whole-brain structural organisation were found. Bundle-specific metrics showed reduced fiber density (p = 0.012, Hedges' g = 0.884) and fiber density cross-section (p = 0.007, Hedges' g = 0.945) in the motor segment of the corpus callosum in COV compared to healthy controls. Cognitive performance on the motor praxis and digit symbol substitution tests was worse in COV than healthy controls (p < 0.001, r = 0.688; p = 0.013, r = 422, respectively). Associations between the cognitive performance and bundle-specific FD measures differed significantly between groups. WMM and cognitive performance differences were observed between COV and healthy controls.

Originele taal-2English
Artikelnummer15668
TijdschriftScientific reports
Volume13
Nummer van het tijdschrift1
DOI's
StatusPublished - 21 sep 2023

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© 2023. Springer Nature Limited.

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