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Abnormalities in Functional Connectivity in Collegiate Football Athletes with and without a Concussion History: Implications and Role of Neuroactive Kynurenine Pathway Metabolites. J Neurotrauma 2017 02 15;34(4):824-837



Pubmed ID




Scopus ID

2-s2.0-85012934662   13 Citations


There is a great need to identify potential long-term consequences of contact sport exposure and to identify molecular pathways that may be associated with these changes. We tested the hypothesis that football players with (Ath-mTBI) (n = 25) and without a concussion history (Ath) (n = 24) have altered resting state functional connectivity in regions with previously documented structural changes relative to healthy controls without football or concussion history (HC) (n = 27). As a secondary aim, we tested the hypothesis that group differences in functional connectivity are moderated by the relative ratio of neuroprotective to neurotoxic metabolites of the kynurenine pathway. Ath-mTBI had significantly increased connectivity of motor cortex to the supplementary motor area relative to Ath and HC. In contrast, both Ath-mTBI and Ath had increased connectivity between the left orbital frontal cortex and the right lateral frontal cortex, and between the left cornu ammonis areas 2 and 3/dentate gyrus (CA2-3/DG) of the hippocampus and the middle and posterior cingulate cortices, relative to HC. The relationship between the ratio of plasma concentrations of kynurenic acid to quinolinic acid (KYNA/QUIN) and left pregenual anterior cingulate cortex connectivity to multiple regions as well as KYNA/QUIN and right CA2-3/DG connectivity to multiple regions differed significantly according to football and concussion history. The results suggest that football exposure with and without concussion history can have a significant effect on intrinsic brain connectivity and implicate the kynurenine metabolic pathway as one potential moderator of functional connectivity dependent on football exposure and concussion history.

Author List

Meier TB, Lancaster MA, Mayer AR, Teague TK, Savitz J


Timothy B. Meier PhD Associate Professor in the Neurosurgery department at Medical College of Wisconsin

MESH terms used to index this publication - Major topics in bold

Athletic Injuries
Brain Concussion
Cerebral Cortex
Metabolic Networks and Pathways
Quinolinic Acid
Young Adult