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J Neurophysiol. 2011 Jun;105(6):2753-63. doi: 10.1152/jn.00895.2010. Epub 2011 Mar 23.

Brain activity at rest: a multiscale hierarchical functional organization.

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Univ. de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.


Spontaneous brain activity was mapped with functional MRI (fMRI) in a sample of 180 subjects while in a conscious resting-state condition. With the use of independent component analysis (ICA) of each individual fMRI signal and classification of the ICA-defined components across subjects, a set of 23 resting-state networks (RNs) was identified. Functional connectivity between each pair of RNs was assessed using temporal correlation analyses in the 0.01- to 0.1-Hz frequency band, and the corresponding set of correlation coefficients was used to obtain a hierarchical clustering of the 23 RNs. At the highest hierarchical level, we found two anticorrelated systems in charge of intrinsic and extrinsic processing, respectively. At a lower level, the intrinsic system appears to be partitioned in three modules that subserve generation of spontaneous thoughts (M1a; default mode), inner maintenance and manipulation of information (M1b), and cognitive control and switching activity (M1c), respectively. The extrinsic system was found to be made of two distinct modules: one including primary somatosensory and auditory areas and the dorsal attentional network (M2a) and the other encompassing the visual areas (M2b). Functional connectivity analyses revealed that M1b played a central role in the functioning of the intrinsic system, whereas M1c seems to mediate exchange of information between the intrinsic and extrinsic systems.

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