Functional connectivity and network analysis of midbrain and brainstem nuclei

Baer, Karl-Jürgen, de la Cruz, Feliberto, Schumann, Andy, Koehler, Stefanie, Sauer, Heinrich, Critchley, Hugo and Wagner, Gerd (2016) Functional connectivity and network analysis of midbrain and brainstem nuclei. NeuroImage, 134. pp. 53-63. ISSN 1053-8119

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There is limited understanding of how monoamine-producing nuclei within midbrain and brainstem contribute
to the formation and functional dynamics of brain networks across the human neocortex. We used resting state fMRI in 154 healthy participants to elucidate patterns of functional connectivity and network organization between cortical/subcortical regions and midbrain/brainstem nuclei. By means of univariate functional connectivity and graph-based analysis, we show that dopaminergic midbrain centers and the serotonergic dorsal raphe nucleus (DRN) are functionally integrated with the default mode network (DMN), whereas the remaining serotonergic raphe nuclei and the noradrenergic locus coeruleus are functionally integrated with the executive-control network (ECN). The majority of midbrain/brainstem nuclei show a high level of connectedness to other network modules classifying these nuclei as “connector” hubs. The additionally applied probabilistic independent component analysis (PICA) broadly corresponded with the results of the GT analysis, describing similar functionally-relevant cortical networks. Since monoaminergic neurotransmission is essential to neocortical function, and represents an important target for pharmacotherapy, our novel findings contribute to a comprehensive understanding of the functional organization of the human brain.

Item Type: Article
Keywords: Brain functional connectivity, brain stem, autonomic, neuro-modulators serotonin, dopamine
Schools and Departments: Brighton and Sussex Medical School > Neuroscience
Research Centres and Groups: Sackler Centre for Consciousness Science
Subjects: Q Science > QP Physiology > QP0351 Neurophysiology and neuropsychology > QP0361 Nervous system
Depositing User: Hugo Critchley
Date Deposited: 31 Oct 2016 16:45
Last Modified: 26 Jul 2017 21:43

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