Resting-State Network Topology Differentiates Task Signals across the Adult Life Span



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Society for Neuroscience


Brain network connectivity differs across individuals. For example, older adults exhibit less segregated resting-state subnetworks relative to younger adults (Chan et al., 2014). It has been hypothesized that individual differences in network connectivity impact the recruitment of brain areas during task execution. While recent studies have described the spatial overlap between resting-state functional correlation (RSFC) sub-networks and task-evoked activity, it is unclear whether individual variations in the connectivity pattern of a brain area (topology) relates to its activity during task execution. We report data from 238 cognitively normal participants (humans), sampled across the adult life span (20-89 years), to reveal that RSFC-based network organization systematically relates to the recruitment of brain areas across two functionally distinct tasks (visual and semantic). The functional activity of brain areas (network nodes) were characterized according to their patterns of RSFC: nodes with relatively greater connections to nodes in their own functional system (“non-connector” nodes) exhibited greater activity than nodes with relatively greater connections to nodes in other systems (“connector” nodes). This “activation selectivity” was specific to those brain systems that were central to each of the tasks. Increasing age was accompanied by less differentiated network topology and a corresponding reduction in activation selectivity (or differentiation) across relevant network nodes. The results provide evidence that connectional topology of brain areas quantified at rest relates to the functional activity of those areas during task. Based on these findings, we propose a novel network-based theory for previous reports of the “dedifferentiation” in brain activity observed in aging.



Aging, Neural networks (Neurobiology), Adult, Age Factors, Aged, Brain mapping, Behavior Rating Scale, Female, Magnetic Resonance Imaging, Humans, Male, Nervous System, Semantics, Brain, Connectome, Longevity, Middle Aged, Neurons, Physiology, Task Performance and Analysis, Young Ddult, Aged, 80 and over, Nerve Net, Neural Pathways

NIH Grant 5R37AG-006265-30


CC BY 4.0 (Attribution), ©2017 The Authors. All Rights Reserved.