The pathogenetic mechanism of persistent post-concussive symptoms (PCS) following concussion remains unclear. Thalamic damage is known to play a role in PCS prolongation while the evidence and biomarkers that trigger persistent PCS have never been elucidated. We collected longitudinal neuroimaging and behavior data from patients and rodents after concussion, complemented with rodents' histological staining data, to unravel the early biomarkers of persistent PCS. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) were acquired to investigated the thalamic damage, while quantitative thalamocortical coherence was derived through resting-state functional MRI for evaluating thalamocortical functioning and predicting long-term behavioral outcome. Patients with prolonged symptoms showed abnormal DTI-derived indices at the boundaries of bilateral thalami (peri-thalamic regions). Both patients and rats with persistent symptoms demonstrated enhanced thalamocortical coherence between different thalamocortical circuits, which disrupted thalamocortical multifunctionality. In rodents, the persistent DTI abnormalities were validated in thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) through immunohistochemistry, and correlated with enhanced thalamocortical coherence. Strong predictive power of these coherence biomarkers for long-term PCS was also validated using another patient cohort. Postconcussive events may begin with persistent TRN injury, followed by disrupted thalamocortical coherence and prolonged PCS. Functional MRI-based coherence measures can be surrogate biomarkers for early prediction of long-term PCS.

Original languageEnglish
Article number102464
Pages (from-to)102464
JournalProgress in Neurobiology
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2023


  • Coherence biomarkers
  • Concussion
  • Machine learning
  • Persistent postconcussive symptoms
  • Thalamic reticular nucleus
  • Thalamocortical coherence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


Dive into the research topics of 'Thalamocortical Coherence Predicts Persistent Postconcussive Symptoms'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this