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Brain Connect. 2011;1(2):147-57. doi: 10.1089/brain.2011.0007.

Connectivity gradients between the default mode and attention control networks.

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Division of Neuroradiology, University of Utah, School of Medicine, Salt Lake City, Utah 84132, USA.


Functional imaging studies have shown reduced activity within the default mode network during attention-demanding tasks. The network circuitry underlying this suppression remains unclear. Proposed hypotheses include an attentional switch in the right anterior insula and reciprocal inhibition between the default mode and attention control networks. We analyzed resting state blood oxygen level dependent (BOLD) data from 1278 subjects from 26 sites and constructed whole-brain maps of functional connectivity between 7266 regions of interest (ROIs) covering the gray matter at ~5 mm resolution. ROIs belonging to the default mode network and attention control network were identified based on correlation to six published seed locations. Spatial heterogeneity of correlation between the default mode and attention control networks was observed, with smoothly varying gradients in every hub of both networks that ranged smoothly from weakly but significantly anticorrelated to positively correlated. Such gradients were reproduced in 3 separate groups of subjects. Anticorrelated subregions were identified in major hubs of both networks. Between-network connectivity gradients strengthen with age during late adolescence and early adulthood, with associated sharpening of the boundaries of the default mode network, integration of the insula and cingulate with frontoparietal attentional regions, and decreasing correlation between the default mode and attention control networks with age.


anticorrelations; attention control network; default mode network; fcMRI; functional connectivity; resting state; task positive network

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