The default mode network consists of a set of functionally connected brain regions (posterior cingulate, medial prefrontal cortex and bilateral parietal cortex) maximally active in functional imaging studies under “no task” conditions. It has been argued that the posterior cingulate is important in consciousness/awareness, but previous investigations of resting interactions between the posterior cingulate cortex and other brain regions during sedation and anesthesia have produced inconsistent results.
We examined the connectivity of the posterior cingulate at different levels of consciousness. “No task” fMRI (BOLD) data were collected from healthy volunteers while awake and at low and moderate levels of sedation, induced by the anesthetic agent propofol. Our data show that connectivity of the posterior cingulate changes during sedation to include areas that are not traditionally considered to be part of the default mode network, such as the motor/somatosensory cortices, the anterior thalamic nuclei, and the reticular activating system.
This neuroanatomical signature resembles that of non-REM sleep, and may be evidence for a system that reduces its discriminable states and switches into more stereotypic patterns of firing under sedation.
Functional neuroimaging studies provide converging evidence for existence of intrinsic brain networks activated during resting states and deactivated with selective cognitive demands. Whether task-related deactivation of the default mode network signifies depressed activity relative to the remaining brain or simply lower activity relative to its resting state remains controversial. We employed 3D arterial spin labeling imaging to examine regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) during rest, a spatial working memory task, and a second rest. Change in regional CBF from rest to task showed significant normalized and absolute CBF reductions in posterior cingulate, posterior-inferior precuneus, and medial frontal lobes . A Statistical Parametric Mapping connectivity analysis, with an a priori seed in the posterior cingulate cortex, produced deactivation connectivity patterns consistent with the classic “default mode network” and activation connectivity anatomically consistent with engagement in visuospatial tasks. The large task-related CBF decrease in posterior-inferior precuneus relative to its anterior and middle portions adds evidence for the precuneus' heterogeneity. The posterior cingulate and posterior-inferior precuneus were also regions of the highest CBF at rest and during task performance. The difference in regional CBF between intrinsic (resting) and evoked (task) activity levels may represent functional readiness or reserve vulnerable to diminution by conditions affecting perfusion.
ASL; cerebral blood flow; cingulate; default mode network; precuneus
The default-mode network (DMN) is a set of specific brain regions whose activity, predominant in the resting-state, is attenuated during cognitively demanding, externally-cued tasks. The cognitive correlates of this network have proven difficult to interrogate, but one hypothesis is that regions in the network process episodic memories and semantic knowledge integral to internally-generated mental activity. Here, we compare default-mode functional connectivity in the same group of subjects during rest and conscious sedation with midazolam, a state characterized by anterograde amnesia and a reduced level of consciousness. Although the DMN showed functional connectivity during both rest and conscious sedation, a direct comparison found that there was significantly reduced functional connectivity in the posterior cingulate cortex during conscious sedation. These results confirm that low-frequency oscillations in the DMN persist and remain highly correlated even at reduced levels of consciousness. We hypothesize that focal reductions in DMN connectivity, as shown here in the posterior cingulate cortex, may represent a stable correlate of reduced consciousness.
consciousness; conscious sedation; default mode; episodic memory; posterior cingulate; resting-state
The default mode network has been hypothesized following the observation that specific regions of the brain are consistently activated during the resting state and deactivated during engagement with task. The primary nodes of this network, which typically include the precuneus / posterior cingulate, the medial frontal and lateral parietal cortices, are thought to be involved in introspective and social cognitive functions. Interestingly, this same network has been shown to be selectively impaired during epileptic seizures associated with loss of consciousness. Using a wide range of neuroimaging and electrophysiological modalities, decreased activity in the default state has been confirmed during complex partial, generalized tonic-clonic, and absence seizures. In this review we will discuss these three seizure types and will focus on possible mechanisms by which decreased default mode network activity occurs. Although the specific mechanisms of onset and propagation differ considerably across these seizure types, we propose that the resulting loss of consciousness in all three types of seizures is due to active inhibition of subcortical arousal systems that normally maintain default mode network activity in the awake state. Further, we suggest that these findings support a general “network inhibition hypothesis,” by which active inhibition of arousal systems leads to cortical deactivation resembling other states of reduced consciousness.
Epilepsy; Consciousness; Default Mode Network
The “default network” consists of a number of brain regions that exhibit correlated low-frequency activity at rest and that have been suggested to be involved in the processing of self-relevant stimuli. Activity in many of these areas has also been shown to be altered in individuals with posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD). We hypothesized that the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC)/precuneus, part of the default network, would exhibit altered connectivity at rest with other areas of the default network and regions associated with PTSD.
Seventeen medicated and unmedicated female patients with chronic posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD) related to early-life trauma and 15 healthy female controls underwent a 5.5-minute functional magnetic resonance imaging scan with their eyes closed. We assessed areas of the brain whose activity positively and negatively correlated with that of the PCC/precuneus in both groups.
At rest, spontaneous low-frequency activity in the PCC/precuneus was more strongly correlated with activity in other areas of the default network in healthy controls than in patients with PTSD. Direct comparison of the 2 groups showed that PCC/ precuneus connectivity was also greater in healthy controls than in patients with PTSD in a number of areas previously associated with PTSD, including the right amygdala and the hippocampus/parahippocampal gyrus.
Because our PTSD sample comprised only women with chronic early-life trauma exposure, our results may not be generalizeable to male patients, to a population with single trauma exposure or to those who were adults when the trauma occurred. In addition, our sample included patients taking medication and it is not yet clear how altered connectivity is affected by medication.
Spontaneous activity in the default network during rest, as measured using PCC correlations, is altered in patients with PTSD. The potential effects of psychotropic medications on default network connectivity in the present sample remain unknown. In this patient population, the observed alterations may be associated with the disturbances in self-referential processing often observed in patients with chronic PTSD related to early-life trauma.
Resting-state networks (RSNs), including the default mode network (DMN), have been considered as markers of brain status such as consciousness, developmental change, and treatment effects. The consistency of functional connectivity among RSNs has not been fully explored, especially among resting-state-related independent components (RSICs).
Materials and Methods
This resting-state fMRI study addressed the consistency of functional connectivity among RSICs as well as their spatial consistency between 'at day 1' and 'after 4 weeks' in 13 healthy volunteers.
We found that most RSICs, especially the DMN, are reproducible across time, whereas some RSICs were variable in either their spatial characteristics or their functional connectivity. Relatively low spatial consistency was found in the basal ganglia, a parietal region of left frontoparietal network, and the supplementary motor area. The functional connectivity between two independent components, the bilateral angular/supramarginal gyri/intraparietal lobule and bilateral middle temporal/occipital gyri, was decreased across time regardless of the correlation analysis method employed, (Pearson's or partial correlation).
RSICs showing variable consistency are different between spatial characteristics and functional connectivity. To understand the brain as a dynamic network, we recommend further investigation of both changes in the activation of specific regions and the modulation of functional connectivity in the brain network.
Resting state network; Default mode network; Independent component analysis; Consistency; Functional connectivity
Functional networks are usually accessed with “resting-state” functional magnetic resonance imaging using preselected “seeds” regions. Frequently, however, the selection of the seed locations is arbitrary. Recently, we proposed local functional connectivity density mapping (FCDM), an ultrafast data-driven to locate highly connected brain regions (functional hubs). Here, we used the functional hubs obtained from local FCDM to determine the functional networks of the resting state in 979 healthy subjects without a priori hypotheses on seed locations. In addition, we computed the global functional connectivity hubs. Seven networks covering 80% of the gray matter volume were identified. Four major cortical hubs (ventral precuneus/posterior cingulate, inferior parietal cortex, cuneus, and postcentral gyrus) were linked to 4 cortical networks (default mode, dorsal attention, visual, and somatosensory). Three subcortical networks were associated to the major subcortical hubs (cerebellum, thalamus, and amygdala). The networks differed in their resting activity and topology. The higher coupling and overlap of subcortical networks was associated to higher contribution of short-range functional connectivity in thalamus and cerebellum. Whereas cortical local FCD hubs were also hubs of long-range connectivity, which corroborates the key role of cortical hubs in network architecture, subcortical hubs had minimal long-range connectivity. The significant variability among functional networks may underlie their sensitivity/resilience to neuropathology.
functional connectivity; 1000 functional connectomes
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) impact social functioning and communication, and individuals with these disorders often have restrictive and repetitive behaviors. Accumulating data indicate that ASD is associated with alterations of neural circuitry. Functional MRI (FMRI) studies have focused on connectivity in the context of psychological tasks. However, even in the absence of a task, the brain exhibits a high degree of functional connectivity, known as intrinsic or resting connectivity. Notably, the default network, which includes the posterior cingulate cortex, retro-splenial, lateral parietal cortex/angular gyrus, medial prefrontal cortex, superior frontal gyrus, temporal lobe, and parahippocampal gyrus, is strongly active when there is no task. Altered intrinsic connectivity within the default network may underlie offline processing that may actuate ASD impairments. Using FMRI, we sought to evaluate intrinsic connectivity within the default network in ASD. Relative to controls, the ASD group showed weaker connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex and superior frontal gyrus and stronger connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex and both the right temporal lobe and right parahippocampal gyrus. Moreover, poorer social functioning in the ASD group was correlated with weaker connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex and the superior frontal gyrus. In addition, more severe restricted and repetitive behaviors in ASD were correlated with stronger connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex and right parahippocampal gyrus. These findings indicate that ASD subjects show altered intrinsic connectivity within the default network, and connectivity between these structures is associated with specific ASD symptoms.
Positron emission tomography (PET) studies of major depression have revealed resting-state abnormalities in the prefrontal and cingulate cortices. Recently, fMRI has been adapted to examine connectivity within a specific resting-state neural network—the default-mode network—that includes the medial prefrontal and anterior cingulate cortices. The goal of this study was to examine resting-state, default-mode network functional connectivity in subjects with major depression and in healthy comparison subjects.
28 subjects with major depression and 20 healthy control subjects underwent 5-minute fMRI scans while resting quietly. Independent component analysis was used to isolate the default-mode network in each subject. Group maps of the default-mode network were generated and compared between the two groups. A within-group analysis was performed in the depressed group to explore effects of depression refractoriness on network functional connectivity.
Resting-state subgenual cingulate and thalamic functional connectivity with the default-mode network was significantly greater in the depressed subjects compared to the control group. Within the depressed group, the length of the current depressive episode (a surrogate for refractoriness) was positively correlated with functional connectivity in the subgenual cingulate.
This is the first study to explore default-mode functional connectivity in subjects with major depression. The findings provide cross-modality confirmation of PET studies demonstrating abnormally increased thalamic and subgenual cingulate activity in major depression. Further, the within-subject connectivity analysis employed here brings these previously isolated regions of hypermetabolism into the context of a disordered neural network. The correlation between refractoriness and subgenual cingulate functional connectivity within the network suggests that a quantitative, resting-state fMRI measure could be used to guide therapy on an individual subject basis.
functional connectivity; depression; subgenual cingulate; resting-state; independent component analysis
Coherent fluctuations of spontaneous brain activity are present in distinct functional-anatomic brain systems during undirected wakefulness. However, the behavioral significance of this spontaneous activity has only begun to be investigated. Our previous studies have demonstrated that successful memory formation requires coordinated neural activity in a distributed memory network including the hippocampus and posteromedial cortices, specifically the precuneus and posterior cingulate (PPC), thought to be integral nodes of the default network. In this study, we examined whether intrinsic connectivity during the resting state between the hippocampus and PPC can predict individual differences in the performance of an associative memory task among cognitively intact older individuals. The intrinsic connectivity, between regions within the hippocampus and PPC that were maximally engaged during a subsequent memory fMRI task, was measured during a period of rest prior to the performance of the memory paradigm. Stronger connectivity between the hippocampal and posteromedial regions during rest predicted better performance on the memory task. Furthermore, hippocampal-PPC intrinsic connectivity was also significantly correlated with episodic memory measures on neuropsychological tests, but not with performance in non-memory domains. Whole brain exploratory analyses further confirmed the spatial specificity of the relationship between hippocampal-default network posteromedial cortical connectivity and memory performance in older subjects. Our findings provide support for the hypothesis that one of the functions of this large-scale brain network is to subserve episodic memory processes. Research is ongoing to determine if impaired connectivity between these regions may serve as a predictor of memory decline related to early Alzheimer’s disease.
Changes in regional activity levels and network connectivity occur across the lifespan within the default mode network (DMN) of resting brain function. Changes with age are noted in most components of the DMN, especially in medial frontal/anterior cingulate and posterior cingulate/precuneus regions. Individuals with age-related disease such as mild cognitive impairment (MCI) and Alzheimer’s disease (AD) demonstrate additional default-related changes particularly in posterior cingulate/precuneus and hippocampal regions. As these regions are areas of known pathologic change in both normal aging and age-related disease, examining DMN activity may allow future studies to more fully assess the relationship between pathology and function in these regions. The ability to form this structure-function link could allow us to determine critical factors involved in the decline or preservation of function in the presence of age-related neuropathology.
functional imaging; brain function; mild cognitive impairment; MCI; Alzheimer’s Disease; AD; age; PET; fMRI; human
Clinical diagnosis of disorders of consciousness (DOC) caused by brain injury poses great challenges since patients are often behaviorally unresponsive. A promising new approach towards objective DOC diagnosis may be offered by the analysis of ultra-slow (<0.1 Hz) spontaneous brain activity fluctuations measured with functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) during the resting-state. Previous work has shown reduced functional connectivity within the “default network”, a subset of regions known to be deactivated during engaging tasks, which correlated with the degree of consciousness impairment. However, it remains unclear whether the breakdown of connectivity is restricted to the “default network”, and to what degree changes in functional connectivity can be observed at the single subject level. Here, we analyzed resting-state inter-hemispheric connectivity in three homotopic regions of interest, which could reliably be identified based on distinct anatomical landmarks, and were part of the “Extrinsic” (externally oriented, task positive) network (pre- and postcentral gyrus, and intraparietal sulcus). Resting-state fMRI data were acquired for a group of 11 healthy subjects and 8 DOC patients. At the group level, our results indicate decreased inter-hemispheric functional connectivity in subjects with impaired awareness as compared to subjects with intact awareness. Individual connectivity scores significantly correlated with the degree of consciousness. Furthermore, a single-case statistic indicated a significant deviation from the healthy sample in 5/8 patients. Importantly, of the three patients whose connectivity indices were comparable to the healthy sample, one was diagnosed as locked-in. Taken together, our results further highlight the clinical potential of resting-state connectivity analysis and might guide the way towards a connectivity measure complementing existing DOC diagnosis.
Individuals at ultra-high risk (UHR) for psychosis have self-disturbances and deficits in social cognition and functioning. Midline default network areas, including the medial prefrontal cortex and posterior cingulate cortex, are implicated in self-referential and social cognitive tasks. Thus, the neural substrates within the default mode network (DMN) have the potential to mediate self-referential and social cognitive information processing in UHR subjects.
This study utilized functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to investigate resting-state DMN and task-related network (TRN) functional connectivity in 19 UHR subjects and 20 matched healthy controls. The bilateral posterior cingulate cortex was selected as a seed region, and the intrinsic organization for all subjects was reconstructed on the basis of fMRI time series correlation.
Default mode areas included the posterior/anterior cingulate cortices, the medial prefrontal cortex, the lateral parietal cortex, and the inferior temporal region. Task-related network areas included the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, supplementary motor area, the inferior parietal lobule, and middle temporal cortex. Compared to healthy controls, UHR subjects exhibit hyperconnectivity within the default network regions and reduced anti-correlations (or negative correlations nearer to zero) between the posterior cingulate cortex and task-related areas.
These findings suggest that abnormal resting-state network activity may be related with the clinical features of UHR subjects. Neurodevelopmental and anatomical alterations of cortical midline structure might underlie altered intrinsic networks in UHR subjects.
Working memory processing and resting-state connectivity in the default mode network are altered in patients with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Because the ability to effortlessly switch between concentration on a task and an idling state during rest is implicated in both these alterations, we undertook a functional magnetic resonance imaging study with a block design to analyze task-induced modulations in connectivity.
We performed a working memory task and psychophysiologic interaction analyses with the posterior cingulate cortex and the medial prefrontal cortex as seed regions during fixation in 12 patients with severe, chronic PTSD and 12 healthy controls.
During the working memory task, the control group showed significantly stronger connectivity with areas implicated in the salience and executive networks, including the right inferior frontal gyrus and the right inferior parietal lobule. The PTSD group showed stronger connectivity with areas implicated in the default mode network, namely enhanced connectivity between the posterior cingulate cortex and the right superior frontal gyrus and between the medial prefrontal cortex and the left parahip-pocampal gyrus.
Because we were studying alterations in patients with severe, chronic PTSD, we could not exclude patients taking medication. The small sample size may have limited the power of our analyses. To avoid multiple testing in a small sample, we only used 2 seed regions for our analyses.
The different patterns of connectivity imply significant group differences with task-induced switches (i.e., engaging and disengaging the default mode network and the central-executive network).
Precuneus responds to a wide range of cognitive processes. Here, we examined how the patterns of resting state connectivity may define functional subregions in the precuneus. Using a K-means algorithm to cluster the whole-brain “correlograms” of the precuneus in 225 adult individuals, we corroborated the dorsal-anterior, dorsal-posterior, and ventral subregions, each involved in spatially guided behaviors, mental imagery, and episodic memory as well as self-related processing, with the ventral precuneus being part of the default mode network, as described extensively in earlier work. Furthermore, we showed that the lateral/medial volumes of dorsal anterior and dorsal posterior precuneus are each connected with areas of motor execution/attention and motor/visual imagery, respectively. Compared to the ventral precuneus, the dorsal precuneus showed greater connectivity with occipital and posterior parietal cortices, but less connectivity with the medial superior frontal and orbitofrontal gyri, anterior cingulate cortex as well as the parahippocampus. Compared to dorsal-posterior and ventral precuneus, the dorsal-anterior precuneus showed greater connectivity with the somatomotor cortex, as well as the insula, supramarginal, Heschl’s, and superior temporal gyri, but less connectivity with the angular gyrus. Compared to ventral and dorsal-anterior precuneus, dorsal-posterior precuneus showed greater connectivity with the middle frontal gyrus. Notably, the precuneus as a whole has negative connectivity with the amygdala and the lateral and inferior orbital frontal gyri. Finally, men and women differed in the connectivity of precuneus. Men and women each showed greater connectivity with the dorsal precuneus in the cuneus and medial thalamus, respectively. Women also showed greater connectivity with ventral precuneus in the hippocampus/parahippocampus, middle/anterior cingulate gyrus, and middle occipital gyrus, compared to men. Taken together, these new findings may provide a useful platform upon which to further investigate sex-specific functional neuroanatomy of the precuneus and to elucidate the pathology of many neurological illnesses.
functional connectivity; fMRI; resting state; precuneus; default network
The default mode network (DMN) has recently attracted widespread interest. Previous studies have found that task-related processing can induce deactivation and changes in the functional connectivity of this network. However, it remains unclear how tasks modulate the underlying effective connectivity within the DMN. Using recent advances in dynamic causal modeling (DCM), we investigated the modulatory effect of (gender judgment) task performance on directed connectivity within the DMN. Sixteen healthy subjects were scanned twice: at rest and while performing a gender judgment task. Group independent component analysis was used to identify independent spatial components. Four subject-specific regions of interest (ROIs) were defined according to the ensuing default mode component: the posterior cingulate cortex, the left lateral parietal cortex, the right lateral parietal cortex, and the medial prefrontal cortex. Effective connectivity among these regions was then characterized with stochastic DCM, revealing enhanced (extrinsic) between region connectivity within the DMN during task sessions – and a universal decrease in (intrinsic) self-inhibition – relative to resting sessions. These results suggest a distributed but systematic modulatory effect of cognitive and attentional set on the effective connectivity subtending the DMN: an effect that increases its sensitivity to inputs and may optimize distributed processing during task performance.
default mode network; effective connectivity; stochastic dynamic causal modeling; independent component analysis; functional magnetic resonance imaging
Healthy individuals show robust functional connectivity during rest, which is stronger in adults than in children. Connectivity occurs between the posterior and anterior portions of the default network, a group of structures active in the absence of a task, including the posterior cingulate cortex and the superior frontal gyrus. Previous studies found weaker posterior-anterior connectivity in the default network in adults and adolescents with autism spectrum disorders (ASD). However, these studies used small a priori regions of interest (“seeds”) to calculate connectivity. Since seed location for all participants was chosen based on controls' brains, these studies' analyses are more tailored to controls than individuals with ASD. An alternative is to use a data-driven approach, such as self-organizing maps (SOM), to create a reference for each participant to calculate connectivity. We used individualized resting-state clusters identified by an SOM algorithm to corroborate previous findings of weaker posterior-anterior connectivity in the ASD group and examine age-related changes in the ASD and control groups. Thirty-nine adolescents with ASD and 41 controls underwent a 10-minute, eyes-open, resting state functional MRI scan. The SOM analysis revealed that adolescents with ASD versus controls have weaker connectivity between the posterior hub of the default network and the right superior frontal gyrus. Additionally, controls have larger increases in connectivity with age compared to the ASD group. These findings indicate that SOM is a complementary method for calculating connectivity in a clinical population. Additionally, adolescents with ASD have a different developmental trajectory of the default network compared to controls.
functional MRI; autism; self-organizing map; connectivity; default network; superior frontal gyrus
Autism spectrum disorders (ASD) are associated with disturbances of neural connectivity. Functional connectivity between neural structures is typically examined within the context of a cognitive task, but also exists in the absence of a task (i.e., “rest”). Connectivity during rest is particularly active in a set of structures called the default network, which includes the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC), retrosplenial cortex, lateral parietal cortex/angular gyrus, medial prefrontal cortex, superior frontal gyrus, temporal lobe, and parahippocampal gyrus. We previously reported that adults with ASD relative to controls show areas of stronger and weaker connectivity within the default network. The objective of the present study was to examine the default network in adolescents with ASD. Sixteen adolescents with ASD and 15 controls participated in a functional MRI study. Functional connectivity was examined between a PCC seed and other areas of the default network. Both groups showed connectivity in the default network. Relative to controls, adolescents with ASD showed widespread weaker connectivity in nine of the eleven areas of the default network. Moreover, an analysis of symptom severity indicated that poorer social skills and increases in restricted and repetitive behaviors and interests correlated with weaker connectivity, whereas poorer verbal and non-verbal communication correlated with stronger connectivity in multiple areas of the default network. These findings indicate that adolescents with ASD show weaker connectivity in the default network than previously reported in adults with ASD. The findings also show that weaker connectivity within the default network is associated with specific impairments in ASD.
Functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging; development; symptom severity; Asperger’s syndrome; pervasive developmental disorder not otherwise specified
Spontaneous low-frequency fluctuations in the blood oxygen level–dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) signal have been shown to reflect neural synchrony between brain regions. A “default network” of spontaneous low-frequency fluctuations has been described in healthy volunteers during stimulus-independent thought. Negatively correlated with this network are regions activated during attention-demanding tasks. Both these networks involve brain regions and functions that have been linked with schizophrenia in previous research. The present study examined spontaneous slow fluctuations in the BOLD signal at rest, as measured by correlation with low-frequency oscillations in the posterior cingulate, in 17 schizophrenic patients, and 17 comparable healthy volunteers. Healthy volunteers demonstrated correlation between spontaneous low-frequency fluctuations of the BOLD signal in the posterior cingulate and fluctuations in the lateral parietal, medial prefrontal, and cerebellar regions, similar to previous reports. Schizophrenic patients had significantly less correlation between spontaneous slow activity in the posterior cingulate and that in the lateral parietal, medial prefrontal, and cerebellar regions. Connectivity of the posterior cingulate was found to vary with both positive and negative symptoms in schizophrenic patients. Because these data suggest significant abnormalities in resting-state neural networks in schizophrenia, further investigations of spontaneous slow fluctuations of the BOLD signal seem warranted in this population.
anticorrelated networksdefault network; schizophrenia; functional MRI; spontaneous slow fluctuations; posterior cingulate; medial prefrontal cortex
The default network is a system of brain areas that are engaged when the mind is not involved in goal-directed activity. Most previous studies of age-related changes in default mode processing have used verbal tasks. We studied non-verbal spatial tasks that vary in difficulty. We presented old and young participants with two spatial judgment tasks: an easy categorical judgment and a more demanding coordinate judgment. We report that (a) Older adults show markedly less default network modulation than young on the demanding spatial task, but there is age equivalence on the easy task; (b) This Age × Task interaction is restricted to the default network: Brain areas that are deactivated by the tasks, but that are outside the default network, show no interaction; (c) Young adults exhibit significantly stronger functional connectivity among posterior regions of the default network compared with older adults, whereas older adults exhibit stronger connectivity between medial prefrontal cortex and other sites; and (d) The relationship of default activity to reaction time performance on the spatial tasks is mediated by age: in old adults, those who deactivate the default network most also perform best, whereas the opposite is true in younger adults. These results extend the findings of age-related changes in default mode processing and connectivity to visuo-spatial tasks and demonstrate that the results are specific to the default network.
default mode; deactivation; aging brain; spatial judgment; parietal cortex; connectivity; fMRI
To examine the integrity of the default mode network in patients with Parkinson disease (PD). Previous functional neuroimaging experiments have studied executive deficits in patients with PD with regard to task-related brain activation. However, recent studies suggest that executive performance also relies on the integrity of the default mode network (ie, medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, precuneus, and lateral parietal and medial temporal cortices), characterized by a deactivation of these cortical areas during the performance of executive tasks.
We used functional magnetic resonance imaging to investigate cortical deactivations during a card-sorting task (retrieval and manipulation of short-term memory contents) compared with a simple sensory-motor matching task. In addition, a functional connectivity analysis was performed.
Tertiary outpatient clinic.
Seven patients with mild to moderate PD (not taking medication) and 7 healthy controls.
Main Outcome Measure
Both groups showed comparable deactivation of the medial prefrontal cortex but different deactivation in the posterior cingulate cortex and the precuneus. Compared with controls, patients with PD not only showed less deactivation of the posterior cingulate cortex and the precuneus, they even demonstrated a reversed pattern of activation and deactivation. Connectivity analysis yielded that in contrast to healthy individuals, medial prefrontal cortex and the rostral ventromedial caudate nucleus were functionally disconnected in PD.
We describe specific malfunctioning of the default mode network during an executive task in PD. This finding is plausibly linked to dopamine depletion and may critically contribute to the understanding of executive deficits in PD.
PMID: 19597090 CAMSID: cams1533
Deficits in the connectivity between brain regions have been suggested to play a major role in the pathophysiology of schizophrenia. A functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) analysis of schizophrenia was implemented using independent component analysis (ICA) to identify multiple temporally cohesive, spatially distributed regions of brain activity that represent functionally connected networks. We hypothesized that functional connectivity differences would be seen in auditory networks comprised of regions such as superior temporal gyrus as well as executive networks that consisted of frontal-parietal areas. Eight networks were found to be implicated in schizophrenia during the auditory oddball paradigm. These included a bilateral temporal network containing the superior and middle temporal gyrus; a default-mode network comprised of the posterior cingulate, precuneus, and middle frontal gyrus; and multiple dorsal lateral prefrontal cortex networks that constituted various levels of between-group differences. Highly task-related sensory networks were also found. These results indicate that patients with schizophrenia show functional connectivity differences in networks related to auditory processing, executive control, and baseline functional activity. Overall, these findings support the idea that the cognitive deficits associated with schizophrenia are widespread and that a functional connectivity approach can help elucidate the neural correlates of this disorder.
fMRI; DLPFC; schizophrenia; default-mode; independent component analysis; auditory oddball
Anticorrelated relationships in spontaneous signal fluctuation have been previously observed in resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). In particular, it was proposed that there exists two systems in the brain that are intrinsically organized into anticorrelated networks, the default mode network, which usually exhibits task-related deactivations, and the task-positive network, which usually exhibits task-related activations during tasks that demands external attention. However, it is currently under debate whether the anticorrelations observed in resting state fMRI were valid or were instead artificially introduced by global signal regression, a common preprocessing technique to remove physiological and other noise in resting-state fMRI signal. We examined positive and negative correlations in resting-state connectivity using two different preprocessing methods: a component base noise reduction method (CompCor, Behzadi et al., 2007), in which principal components from noise regions-of-interest were removed, and the global signal regression method. Robust anticorrelations between a default mode network seed region in the medial prefrontal cortex and regions of the task-positive network were observed under both methods. Specificity of the anticorrelations was similar between the two methods. Specificity and sensitivity for positive correlations were higher under CompCor compared to the global regression method. Our results suggest that anticorrelations observed in resting-state connectivity are not an artifact introduced by global signal regression and might have biological origins, and that the CompCor method can be used to examine valid anticorrelations during rest.
fMRI; functional connectivity; physiological noise; default mode network; task-positive network; negative correlations
Several brain areas show signal decreases during many different cognitive tasks in functional imaging studies, including the posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and a medial frontal region incorporating portions of the medial frontal gyrus and ventral anterior cingulate cortex (MFG/vACC). It has been suggested that these areas are components in a default mode network that is engaged during rest and disengaged during cognitive tasks. This study investigated the functional connectivity between the PCC and MFG/vACC during a working memory task and at rest by examining temporal correlations in magnetic resonance signal levels between the regions. The two regions were functionally connected in both conditions. In addition, performance on the working memory task was positively correlated with the strength of this functional connection not only during the working memory task, but also at rest. Thus, it appears these regions are components of a network that may facilitate or monitor cognitive performance, rather than becoming disengaged during cognitive tasks. In addition, these data raise the possibility that the individual differences in coupling strength between these two regions at rest predict differences in cognitive abilities important for this working memory task.
task-induced deactivation; default-mode; connectivity; resting connectivity; functional connectivity; connectivity-behavior correlation; cingulate; correlated variability; FMRI; human; imaging; working memory
Major depressive disorder (MDD) has been characterized by excessive default-network activation and connectivity with the subgenual cingulate. These hyper-connectivities are often interpreted as reflecting rumination, where MDDs perseverate on negative, self-referential thoughts. However, the relationship between connectivity and rumination has not been established. Furthermore, previous research has not examined how connectivity with the subgenual cingulate differs when individuals are engaged in a task or not. The purpose of the present study was to examine connectivity of the default network specifically in the subgenual cingulate both on- and off-task, and to examine the relationship between connectivity and rumination. Analyses using a seed-based connectivity approach revealed that MDDs show more neural functional connectivity between the posterior-cingulate cortex and the subgenual-cingulate cortex than healthy individuals during rest periods, but not during task engagement. Importantly, these rest-period connectivities correlated with behavioral measures of rumination and brooding, but not reflection.
depression; rumination; default network; subgenual cingulate; functional magnetic resonance imaging