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Neural Plasticity
Volume 2016, Article ID 6353845, 12 pages
Research Article

Altered Effective Connectivity of Hippocampus-Dependent Episodic Memory Network in mTBI Survivors

1Neuroimaging Laboratory, School of Biomedical Engineering, Shenzhen University Health Science Center, Shenzhen 518060, China
2Key Laboratory of Optoelectronic Devices and Systems of Ministry of Education and Guangdong Province, College of Optoelectronic Engineering, Shenzhen University, Shenzhen 518060, China
3Departments of Linguistics and Psychology, Xidian University, Xi’an 710071, China
4School of Foreign Languages, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi’an 710029, China

Received 14 September 2016; Accepted 14 November 2016

Academic Editor: Kevin K. W. Wang

Copyright © 2016 Hao Yan et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) are generally recognized to affect episodic memory. However, less is known regarding how external force altered the way functionally connected brain structures of the episodic memory system interact. To address this issue, we adopted an effective connectivity based analysis, namely, multivariate Granger causality approach, to explore causal interactions within the brain network of interest. Results presented that TBI induced increased bilateral and decreased ipsilateral effective connectivity in the episodic memory network in comparison with that of normal controls. Moreover, the left anterior superior temporal gyrus (aSTG, the concept forming hub), left hippocampus (the personal experience binding hub), and left parahippocampal gyrus (the contextual association hub) were no longer network hubs in TBI survivors, who compensated for hippocampal deficits by relying more on the right hippocampus (underlying perceptual memory) and the right medial frontal gyrus (MeFG) in the anterior prefrontal cortex (PFC). We postulated that the overrecruitment of the right anterior PFC caused dysfunction of the strategic component of episodic memory, which caused deteriorating episodic memory in mTBI survivors. Our findings also suggested that the pattern of brain network changes in TBI survivors presented similar functional consequences to normal aging.