Topic Editors

Centre of Systems Biology, Biomedical Research Foundation, Academy of Athens, 4 Soranou Efesiou, 11527 Athens, Greece
Institute for Fundamental Biomedical Research, BSRC "Alexander Fleming", Athens, Greece

Advances in Bioinformatics and Computational Biology of Human Disease

Abstract submission deadline
closed (31 October 2023)
Manuscript submission deadline
closed (31 December 2023)
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14866

Topic Information

Dear Colleagues, 

In today's big-data era, the exponential growth of information due to the latest advancements in high-throughput technologies is indisputable. Therefore, efficient algorithms and tools for the extraction, analysis, exploration, and representation of biological information are necessary. In this regard, we invite investigators to contribute original bioinformatics research and review articles describing novel methods, algorithms, software applications, web services, and workflows that are able to cope with larger datasets, complexity, and new datasets or databases which integrate information from different sources. Submissions across the entire spectrum of life and biomedical sciences are welcomed.

Dr. Ioannis Michalopoulos
Dr. Georgios A. Pavlopoulos
Topic Editors

Keywords

  • genomics
  • sequence analysis
  • gene expression
  • structural bioinformatics
  • gene regulation
  • proteomics
  • metabolomics
  • biological networks
  • data visualization
  • data integration
  • AI/ML
  • personalized medicine
  • meta-analysis
  • cancer research
  • disease research

Participating Journals

Journal Name Impact Factor CiteScore Launched Year First Decision (median) APC
Biology
biology
4.2 4.0 2012 18.7 Days CHF 2700
BioTech
biotech
- 4.4 2012 19.6 Days CHF 1600
Cells
cells
6.0 9.0 2012 16.6 Days CHF 2700
Genes
genes
3.5 5.1 2010 16.5 Days CHF 2600
Metabolites
metabolites
4.1 5.3 2011 13.2 Days CHF 2700

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Published Papers (14 papers)

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15 pages, 2088 KiB  
Article
Vertical Metabolome Transfer from Mother to Child: An Explainable Machine Learning Method for Detecting Metabolomic Heritability
Metabolites 2024, 14(3), 136; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo14030136 - 24 Feb 2024
Viewed by 454
Abstract
Vertical transmission of metabolic constituents from mother to child contributes to the manifestation of disease phenotypes in early life. This study probes the vertical transmission of metabolites from mothers to offspring by utilizing machine learning techniques to differentiate between true mother–child dyads and [...] Read more.
Vertical transmission of metabolic constituents from mother to child contributes to the manifestation of disease phenotypes in early life. This study probes the vertical transmission of metabolites from mothers to offspring by utilizing machine learning techniques to differentiate between true mother–child dyads and randomly paired non-dyads. Employing random forests (RF), light gradient boosting machine (LGBM), and logistic regression (Elasticnet) models, we analyzed metabolite concentration discrepancies in mother–child pairs, with maternal plasma sampled at 24 weeks of gestation and children’s plasma at 6 months. The propensity of vertical transfer was quantified, reflecting the likelihood of accurate mother–child matching. Our findings were substantiated against an external test set and further verified through statistical tests, while the models were explained using permutation importance and SHapley Additive exPlanations (SHAP). The best model was achieved using RF, while xenobiotics were shown to be highly relevant in transfer. The study reaffirms the transmission of certain metabolites, such as perfluorooctanoic acid (PFOA), but also reveals additional insights into the maternal influence on the child’s metabolome. We also discuss the multifaceted nature of vertical transfer. These machine learning-driven insights complement conventional epidemiological findings and offer a novel perspective on using machine learning as a methodology for understanding metabolic interactions. Full article
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9 pages, 1522 KiB  
Technical Note
MIGRENE: The Toolbox for Microbial and Individualized GEMs, Reactobiome and Community Network Modelling
Metabolites 2024, 14(3), 132; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo14030132 - 21 Feb 2024
Viewed by 360
Abstract
Understanding microbial metabolism is crucial for evaluating shifts in human host–microbiome interactions during periods of health and disease. However, the primary hurdle in the realm of constraint-based modeling and genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) pertaining to host–microbiome interactions lays in the efficient utilization of [...] Read more.
Understanding microbial metabolism is crucial for evaluating shifts in human host–microbiome interactions during periods of health and disease. However, the primary hurdle in the realm of constraint-based modeling and genome-scale metabolic models (GEMs) pertaining to host–microbiome interactions lays in the efficient utilization of metagenomic data for constructing GEMs that encompass unexplored and uncharacterized genomes. Challenges persist in effectively employing metagenomic data to address individualized microbial metabolisms to investigate host–microbiome interactions. To tackle this issue, we have created a computational framework designed for personalized microbiome metabolisms. This framework takes into account factors such as microbiome composition, metagenomic species profiles and microbial gene catalogues. Subsequently, it generates GEMs at the microbial level and individualized microbiome metabolisms, including reaction richness, reaction abundance, reactobiome, individualized reaction set enrichment (iRSE), and community models. Using the toolbox, our findings revealed a significant reduction in both reaction richness and GEM richness in individuals with liver cirrhosis. The study highlighted a potential link between the gut microbiota and liver cirrhosis, i.e., increased level of LPS, ammonia production and tyrosine metabolism on liver cirrhosis, emphasizing the importance of microbiome-related factors in liver health. Full article
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16 pages, 4295 KiB  
Article
Drug Repositioning of Inflammatory Bowel Disease Based on Co-Target Gene Expression Signature of Glucocorticoid Receptor and TET2
Biology 2024, 13(2), 82; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology13020082 - 29 Jan 2024
Viewed by 898
Abstract
The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and ten-eleven translocation 2 (TET2), respectively, play a crucial role in regulating immunity and inflammation, and GR interacts with TET2. However, their synergetic roles in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), remain unclear. [...] Read more.
The glucocorticoid receptor (GR) and ten-eleven translocation 2 (TET2), respectively, play a crucial role in regulating immunity and inflammation, and GR interacts with TET2. However, their synergetic roles in inflammatory bowel disease (IBD), including ulcerative colitis (UC) and Crohn’s disease (CD), remain unclear. This study aimed to investigate the co-target gene signatures of GR and TET2 in IBD and provide potential therapeutic interventions for IBD. By integrating public data, we identified 179 GR- and TET2-targeted differentially expressed genes (DEGs) in CD and 401 in UC. These genes were found to be closely associated with immunometabolism, inflammatory responses, and cell stress pathways. In vitro inflammatory cellular models were constructed using LPS-treated HT29 and HCT116 cells, respectively. Drug repositioning based on the co-target gene signatures of GR and TET2 derived from transcriptomic data of UC, CD, and the in vitro model was performed using the Connectivity Map (CMap). BMS-536924 emerged as a top therapeutic candidate, and its validation experiment within the in vitro inflammatory model confirmed its efficacy in mitigating the LPS-induced inflammatory response. This study sheds light on the pathogenesis of IBD from a new perspective and may accelerate the development of novel therapeutic agents for inflammatory diseases including IBD. Full article
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12 pages, 932 KiB  
Review
Exploring DNA Damage and Repair Mechanisms: A Review with Computational Insights
BioTech 2024, 13(1), 3; https://doi.org/10.3390/biotech13010003 - 16 Jan 2024
Viewed by 853
Abstract
DNA damage is a critical factor contributing to genetic alterations, directly affecting human health, including developing diseases such as cancer and age-related disorders. DNA repair mechanisms play a pivotal role in safeguarding genetic integrity and preventing the onset of these ailments. Over the [...] Read more.
DNA damage is a critical factor contributing to genetic alterations, directly affecting human health, including developing diseases such as cancer and age-related disorders. DNA repair mechanisms play a pivotal role in safeguarding genetic integrity and preventing the onset of these ailments. Over the past decade, substantial progress and pivotal discoveries have been achieved in DNA damage and repair. This comprehensive review paper consolidates research efforts, focusing on DNA repair mechanisms, computational research methods, and associated databases. Our work is a valuable resource for scientists and researchers engaged in computational DNA research, offering the latest insights into DNA-related proteins, diseases, and cutting-edge methodologies. The review addresses key questions, including the major types of DNA damage, common DNA repair mechanisms, the availability of reliable databases for DNA damage and associated diseases, and the predominant computational research methods for enzymes involved in DNA damage and repair. Full article
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13 pages, 3236 KiB  
Article
Brain Temperature as an Indicator of Cognitive Function in Traumatic Brain Injury Patients
Metabolites 2024, 14(1), 17; https://doi.org/10.3390/metabo14010017 - 27 Dec 2023
Viewed by 1131
Abstract
Whether brain temperature noninvasively extracted by magnetic resonance imaging has a role in identifying brain changes in the later phases of mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not known. This prospective study aimed to evaluate if TBI patients in subacute and [...] Read more.
Whether brain temperature noninvasively extracted by magnetic resonance imaging has a role in identifying brain changes in the later phases of mild to moderate traumatic brain injury (TBI) is not known. This prospective study aimed to evaluate if TBI patients in subacute and chronic phases had altered brain temperature measured by whole-brain magnetic resonance spectroscopic imaging (WB-MRSI) and if the measurable brain temperature had any relationship with cognitive function scores. WB-MRSI was performed on eight TBI patients and fifteen age- and sex-matched control subjects. Brain temperature (T) was extracted from the brain’s major metabolites and compared between the two groups. The T of the patients was tested for correlation with cognitive function test scores. The results showed significantly lower brain temperature in the TBI patients (p < 0.05). Brain temperature derived from N-acetylaspartate (TNAA) strongly correlated with the 2 s paced auditory serial addition test (PASAT-2s) score (p < 0.05). The observation of lower brain temperature in TBI patients may be due to decreased metabolic activity resulting from glucose and oxygen depletion. The correlation of brain temperature with PASAT-2s may imply that noninvasive brain temperature may become a noninvasive index reflecting cognitive performance. Full article
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26 pages, 2214 KiB  
Hypothesis
Bacterial Proteases as Potentially Exploitable Modulators of SARS-CoV-2 Infection: Logic from the Literature, Informatics, and Inspiration from the Dog
BioTech 2023, 12(4), 61; https://doi.org/10.3390/biotech12040061 - 30 Oct 2023
Viewed by 1101
Abstract
(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic left many intriguing mysteries. Retrospective vulnerability trends tie as strongly to odd demographics as to exposure profiles, genetics, health, or prior medical history. This article documents the importance of nasal microbiome profiles in distinguishing infection rate trends among [...] Read more.
(1) Background: The COVID-19 pandemic left many intriguing mysteries. Retrospective vulnerability trends tie as strongly to odd demographics as to exposure profiles, genetics, health, or prior medical history. This article documents the importance of nasal microbiome profiles in distinguishing infection rate trends among differentially affected subgroups. (2) Hypothesis: From a detailed literature survey, microbiome profiling experiments, bioinformatics, and molecular simulations, we propose that specific commensal bacterial species in the Pseudomonadales genus confer protection against SARS-CoV-2 infections by expressing proteases that may interfere with the proteolytic priming of the Spike protein. (3) Evidence: Various reports have found elevated Moraxella fractions in the nasal microbiomes of subpopulations with higher resistance to COVID-19 (e.g., adolescents, COVID-19-resistant children, people with strong dietary diversity, and omnivorous canines) and less abundant ones in vulnerable subsets (the elderly, people with narrower diets, carnivorous cats and foxes), along with bioinformatic evidence that Moraxella bacteria express proteases with notable homology to human TMPRSS2. Simulations suggest that these proteases may proteolyze the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein in a manner that interferes with TMPRSS2 priming. Full article
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21 pages, 9266 KiB  
Article
The Novel Link between Gene Expression Profiles of Adult T-Cell Leukemia/Lymphoma Patients’ Peripheral Blood Lymphocytes and Ferroptosis Susceptibility
Genes 2023, 14(11), 2005; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14112005 - 27 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1114
Abstract
Ferroptosis, a regulated cell death dependent on iron, has garnered attention as a potential broad-spectrum anticancer approach in leukemia research. However, there has been limited ferroptosis research on ATL, an aggressive T-cell malignancy caused by HTLV-1 infection. Our study employs bioinformatic analysis, utilizing [...] Read more.
Ferroptosis, a regulated cell death dependent on iron, has garnered attention as a potential broad-spectrum anticancer approach in leukemia research. However, there has been limited ferroptosis research on ATL, an aggressive T-cell malignancy caused by HTLV-1 infection. Our study employs bioinformatic analysis, utilizing dataset GSE33615, to identify 46 ferroptosis-related DEGs and 26 autophagy-related DEGs in ATL cells. These DEGs are associated with various cellular responses, chemical stress, and iron-related pathways. Autophagy-related DEGs are linked to autophagy, apoptosis, NOD-like receptor signaling, TNF signaling, and the insulin resistance pathway. PPI network analysis revealed 10 hub genes and related biomolecules. Moreover, we predicted crucial miRNAs, transcription factors, and potential pharmacological compounds. We also screened the top 20 medications based on upregulated DEGs. In summary, our study establishes an innovative link between ATL treatment and ferroptosis, offering promising avenues for novel therapeutic strategies in ATL. Full article
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14 pages, 2474 KiB  
Article
Brain Gene Co-Expression Network Analysis Identifies 22q13 Region Genes Associated with Autism, Intellectual Disability, Seizures, Language Impairment, and Hypotonia
Genes 2023, 14(11), 1998; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14111998 - 26 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 981
Abstract
Phelan–McDermid syndrome (PMS) is a rare genetic neurodevelopmental disorder caused by 22q13 region deletions or SHANK3 gene variants. Deletions vary in size and can affect other genes in addition to SHANK3. PMS is characterized by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability (ID), [...] Read more.
Phelan–McDermid syndrome (PMS) is a rare genetic neurodevelopmental disorder caused by 22q13 region deletions or SHANK3 gene variants. Deletions vary in size and can affect other genes in addition to SHANK3. PMS is characterized by autism spectrum disorder (ASD), intellectual disability (ID), developmental delays, seizures, speech delay, hypotonia, and minor dysmorphic features. It is challenging to determine individual gene contributions due to variability in deletion sizes and clinical features. We implemented a genomic data mining approach for identifying and prioritizing the candidate genes in the 22q13 region for five phenotypes: ASD, ID, seizures, language impairment, and hypotonia. Weighted gene co-expression networks were constructed using the BrainSpan transcriptome dataset of a human brain. Bioinformatic analyses of the co-expression modules allowed us to select specific candidate genes, including EP300, TCF20, RBX1, XPNPEP3, PMM1, SCO2, BRD1, and SHANK3, for the common neurological phenotypes of PMS. The findings help understand the disease mechanisms and may provide novel therapeutic targets for the precise treatment of PMS. Full article
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26 pages, 19542 KiB  
Article
CEP55 as a Promising Immune Intervention Marker to Regulate Tumor Progression: A Pan-Cancer Analysis with Experimental Verification
Cells 2023, 12(20), 2457; https://doi.org/10.3390/cells12202457 - 15 Oct 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1109
Abstract
CEP55, a member of the centrosomal protein family, affects cell mitosis and promotes the progression of several malignancies. However, the relationship between CEP55 expression levels and prognosis, as well as their role in cancer progression and immune infiltration in different cancer types, remains [...] Read more.
CEP55, a member of the centrosomal protein family, affects cell mitosis and promotes the progression of several malignancies. However, the relationship between CEP55 expression levels and prognosis, as well as their role in cancer progression and immune infiltration in different cancer types, remains unclear. We used a combined form of several databases to validate the expression of CEP55 in pan-cancer and its association with immune infiltration, and we further screened its targeted inhibitors with CEP55. Our results showed the expression of CEP55 was significantly higher in most tumors than in the corresponding normal tissues, and it correlated with the pathological grade and age of the patients and affected the prognosis. In breast cancer cells, CEP55 knockdown significantly decreased cell survival, proliferation, and migration, while overexpression of CEP55 significantly promoted breast cancer cell proliferation and migration. Moreover, CEP55 expression was positively correlated with immune cell infiltration, immune checkpoints, and immune-related genes in the tumor microenvironment. CD-437 was screened as a potential CEP55-targeted small-molecule compound inhibitor. In conclusion, our study highlights the prognostic value of CEP55 in cancer and further provides a potential target selection for CEP55 as a potential target for intervention in tumor immune infiltration and related immune genes. Full article
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14 pages, 2050 KiB  
Article
Repurposing Normal Chromosomal Microarray Data to Harbor Genetic Insights into Congenital Heart Disease
Biology 2023, 12(10), 1290; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12101290 - 27 Sep 2023
Viewed by 765
Abstract
About 15% of congenital heart disease (CHD) patients have a known pathogenic copy number variant. The majority of their chromosomal microarray (CMA) tests are deemed normal. Diagnostic interpretation typically ignores microdeletions smaller than 100 kb. We hypothesized that unreported microdeletions are enriched for [...] Read more.
About 15% of congenital heart disease (CHD) patients have a known pathogenic copy number variant. The majority of their chromosomal microarray (CMA) tests are deemed normal. Diagnostic interpretation typically ignores microdeletions smaller than 100 kb. We hypothesized that unreported microdeletions are enriched for CHD genes. We analyzed “normal” CMAs of 1762 patients who were evaluated at a pediatric referral center, of which 319 (18%) had CHD. Using CMAs from monozygotic twins or replicates from the same individual, we established a size threshold based on probe count for the reproducible detection of small microdeletions. Genes in the microdeletions were sequentially filtered by their nominal association with a CHD diagnosis, the expression level in the fetal heart, and the deleteriousness of a loss-of-function mutation. The subsequent enrichment for CHD genes was assessed using the presence of known or potentially novel genes implicated by a large whole-exome sequencing study of CHD. The unreported microdeletions were modestly enriched for both known CHD genes and those of unknown significance identified using their de novo mutation in CHD patients. Our results show that readily available “normal” CMA data can be a fruitful resource for genetic discovery and that smaller deletions should receive more attention in clinical evaluation. Full article
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27 pages, 5421 KiB  
Article
Investigating Neuron Degeneration in Huntington’s Disease Using RNA-Seq Based Transcriptome Study
Genes 2023, 14(9), 1801; https://doi.org/10.3390/genes14091801 - 14 Sep 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1295
Abstract
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused due to a CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. The primary symptoms of HD include motor dysfunction such as chorea, dystonia, and involuntary movements. The primary motor cortex (BA4) is [...] Read more.
Huntington’s disease (HD) is a progressive neurodegenerative disorder caused due to a CAG repeat expansion in the huntingtin (HTT) gene. The primary symptoms of HD include motor dysfunction such as chorea, dystonia, and involuntary movements. The primary motor cortex (BA4) is the key brain region responsible for executing motor/movement activities. Investigating patient and control samples from the BA4 region will provide a deeper understanding of the genes responsible for neuron degeneration and help to identify potential markers. Previous studies have focused on overall differential gene expression and associated biological functions. In this study, we illustrate the relationship between variants and differentially expressed genes/transcripts. We identified variants and their associated genes along with the quantification of genes and transcripts. We also predicted the effect of variants on various regulatory activities and found that many variants are regulating gene expression. Variants affecting miRNA and its targets are also highlighted in our study. Co-expression network studies revealed the role of novel genes. Function interaction network analysis unveiled the importance of genes involved in vesicle-mediated transport. From this unified approach, we propose that genes expressed in immune cells are crucial for reducing neuron death in HD. Full article
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18 pages, 1361 KiB  
Review
An Updated Overview of Existing Cancer Databases and Identified Needs
Biology 2023, 12(8), 1152; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12081152 - 21 Aug 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1631
Abstract
Our search of existing cancer databases aimed to assess the current landscape and identify key needs. We analyzed 71 databases, focusing on genomics, proteomics, lipidomics, and glycomics. We found a lack of cancer-related lipidomic and glycomic databases, indicating a need for further development [...] Read more.
Our search of existing cancer databases aimed to assess the current landscape and identify key needs. We analyzed 71 databases, focusing on genomics, proteomics, lipidomics, and glycomics. We found a lack of cancer-related lipidomic and glycomic databases, indicating a need for further development in these areas. Proteomic databases dedicated to cancer research were also limited. To assess overall progress, we included human non-cancer databases in proteomics, lipidomics, and glycomics for comparison. This provided insights into advancements in these fields over the past eight years. We also analyzed other types of cancer databases, such as clinical trial databases and web servers. Evaluating user-friendliness, we used the FAIRness principle to assess findability, accessibility, interoperability, and reusability. This ensured databases were easily accessible and usable. Our search summary highlights significant growth in cancer databases while identifying gaps and needs. These insights are valuable for researchers, clinicians, and database developers, guiding efforts to enhance accessibility, integration, and usability. Addressing these needs will support advancements in cancer research and benefit the wider cancer community. Full article
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14 pages, 10082 KiB  
Article
TAFPred: Torsion Angle Fluctuations Prediction from Protein Sequences
Biology 2023, 12(7), 1020; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12071020 - 19 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1006
Abstract
Protein molecules show varying degrees of flexibility throughout their three-dimensional structures. The flexibility is determined by the fluctuations in torsion angles, specifically phi (φ) and psi (ψ), which define the protein backbone. These angle fluctuations are derived from variations in backbone torsion angles [...] Read more.
Protein molecules show varying degrees of flexibility throughout their three-dimensional structures. The flexibility is determined by the fluctuations in torsion angles, specifically phi (φ) and psi (ψ), which define the protein backbone. These angle fluctuations are derived from variations in backbone torsion angles observed in different models. By analyzing the fluctuations in Cartesian coordinate space, we can understand the structural flexibility of proteins. Predicting torsion angle fluctuations is valuable for determining protein function and structure when these angles act as constraints. In this study, a machine learning method called TAFPred is developed to predict torsion angle fluctuations using protein sequences directly. The method incorporates various features, such as disorder probability, position-specific scoring matrix profiles, secondary structure probabilities, and more. TAFPred, employing an optimized Light Gradient Boosting Machine Regressor (LightGBM), achieved high accuracy with correlation coefficients of 0.746 and 0.737 and mean absolute errors of 0.114 and 0.123 for the φ and ψ angles, respectively. Compared to the state-of-the-art method, TAFPred demonstrated significant improvements of 10.08% in MAE and 24.83% in PCC for the phi angle and 9.93% in MAE, and 22.37% in PCC for the psi angle. Full article
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16 pages, 981 KiB  
Article
Learning to Fuse Multiple Brain Functional Networks for Automated Autism Identification
Biology 2023, 12(7), 971; https://doi.org/10.3390/biology12070971 - 08 Jul 2023
Viewed by 929
Abstract
Functional connectivity network (FCN) has become a popular tool to identify potential biomarkers for brain dysfunction, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Due to its importance, researchers have proposed many methods to estimate FCNs from resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data. However, the existing [...] Read more.
Functional connectivity network (FCN) has become a popular tool to identify potential biomarkers for brain dysfunction, such as autism spectrum disorder (ASD). Due to its importance, researchers have proposed many methods to estimate FCNs from resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data. However, the existing FCN estimation methods usually only capture a single relationship between brain regions of interest (ROIs), e.g., linear correlation, nonlinear correlation, or higher-order correlation, thus failing to model the complex interaction among ROIs in the brain. Additionally, such traditional methods estimate FCNs in an unsupervised way, and the estimation process is independent of the downstream tasks, which makes it difficult to guarantee the optimal performance for ASD identification. To address these issues, in this paper, we propose a multi-FCN fusion framework for rs-fMRI-based ASD classification. Specifically, for each subject, we first estimate multiple FCNs using different methods to encode rich interactions among ROIs from different perspectives. Then, we use the label information (ASD vs. healthy control (HC)) to learn a set of fusion weights for measuring the importance/discrimination of those estimated FCNs. Finally, we apply the adaptively weighted fused FCN on the ABIDE dataset to identify subjects with ASD from HCs. The proposed FCN fusion framework is straightforward to implement and can significantly improve diagnostic accuracy compared to traditional and state-of-the-art methods. Full article
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