Altered cortical structure network in children with obstructive sleep apnea

Min Hee Lee, Sanghun Sin, Seonjoo Lee, Hyunbin Park, Mark E. Wagshul, Molly E. Zimmerman, Raanan Arens

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


Study Objectives: Obstructive sleep apnea (OSA) is characterized by recurrent airway collapse during sleep, resulting in intermittent hypoxia and sleep fragmentation that may contribute to alternations in brain structure and function. We hypothesized that OSA in children reorganizes and alters cortical structure, which can cause changes in cortical thickness correlation between brain regions across subjects. Methods: We constructed cortical structure networks based on cortical thickness measurements from 41 controls (age 15.54±1.66 years, male 19) and 50 children with OSA (age 15.32±1.65 years, male 29). The global (clustering coefficient [CC], path length, and small-worldness) and regional (nodal betweenness centrality, NBC) network properties and hub region distributions were examined between groups. Results: We found increased CCs in OSA compared to controls across a wide range of network densities (p-value<.05) and lower NBC area under the curve in left caudal anterior cingulate, left caudal middle frontal, left fusiform, left transverse temporal, right pars opercularis, and right precentral gyri (p-value<.05). In addition, while most of the hub regions were the same between groups, the OSA group had fewer hub regions and a different hub distribution compared to controls. Conclusions: Our findings suggest that children with OSA exhibit altered global and regional network characteristics compared to healthy controls. Our approach to the investigation of cortical structure in children with OSA could prove useful in understanding the etiology of OSA-related brain functional disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numberzsac030
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1 2022


  • T1-weighted imaging
  • children with obstructive sleep apnea
  • cortical structure network
  • cortical thickness

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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