Alerted default mode: functional connectivity changes in the aftermath of social stress
SourceScientific Reports, 7, (2017), article 40180
Article / Letter to editor
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Subject130 000 Cognitive Neurology & Memory; Radboudumc 13: Stress-related disorders DCMN: Donders Center for Medical Neuroscience
Stress affects the brain at a network level: the salience network is supposedly upregulated, while at the same time the executive control network is downregulated. While theoretically described, the effects in the aftermath of stress have thus far not been tested empirically. Here, we compared for the first time resting-state functional connectivity in a large sample of healthy volunteers before and after a mild social stressor. Following the theoretical prediction, we focused on connectivity of the salience network (SN), the executive control network (ECN) and the default mode network (DMN). The DMN exhibited increased resting-state functional connectivity following the cyberball task to the key nodes of the SN, namely the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) and the anterior insula, as well as sensorimotor regions and higher-order visual areas. We conclude that this increased connectivity of the DMN with key nodes of the SN and regions responsible for preparatory motor activity and visual motion processing indicates a shift towards an 'alerted default mode' in the aftermath of stress. This brain response may be triggered or aggravated by (social) stress induced by the cyberball task, enabling individuals to better reorient attention, detect salient external stimuli, and deal with the emotional and affective consequences of stress.
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