Int J Neurosci. 2017 Oct 2:1-23. doi: 10.1080/00207454.2017.1387116.
Despite increasing understanding of the cerebral functional changes and structural abnormalities in erectile dysfunction, alterations in the topological organization of brain networks underlying psychogenic erectile dysfunction (pED) remain unclear. Here, based on the diffusion tensor image data of 25 pED patients and 26 healthy controls, we investigated the topological organization of brain structural networks and its correlations with the clinical variables using the graph theoretical analysis. Psychogenic ED displayed a preserved overall small-world organization and exhibited a less connectivity strength in the left inferior frontal gyrus, amygdale and the right inferior temporal gyrus. Moreover, an abnormal hub pattern was observed in pED, which might disturb the information interactions of the remaining brain network. Additionally, the clustering coefficient of the left hippocampus was positively correlated with the duration of pED and the normalized betweenness centrality of the right anterior cingulate gyrus and the left calcarine fissure were negatively correlated with the sum scores of the 17-item Hamilton Depression Rating Scale. These findings suggested that the damaged white matter and the abnormal hub distribution of the left prefrontal and limbic cortex might contribute to the pathogenesis of pED and provided new insights into the understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of pED.
KEYWORDS: Psychogenic erectile dysfunction; brain structural networks; diffusion tensor imaging; graph theory; network topology