Cerebral Blood Flow in Posterior Cortical Nodes of the Default Mode Network Decreases with Task Engagement But Remains Higher Than in Most Brain Regions


Adolf Pfefferbaum, Sandra Chanraud, Anne-Lise Pitel, Eva Müller-Oehring, Ajit Shankaranarayanan, David C. Alsop, Torsten Rohlfing, Edith V. Sullivan, Cerebral Blood Flow in Posterior Cortical Nodes of the Default Mode Network Decreases with Task Engagement but Remains Higher than in Most Brain Regions, Cerebral Cortex, Volume 21, Issue 1, January 2011, Pages 233–244, https://doi.org/10.1093/cercor/bhq090


Functional neuroimaging studies provide converging evidence for existence of intrinsic brain networks activated during resting states and deactivated with selective cognitive demands. Whether task-related deactivation of the default mode network signifies depressed activity relative to the remaining brain or simply lower activity relative to its resting state remains controversial. We employed 3D arterial spin labeling imaging to examine regional cerebral blood flow (CBF) during rest, a spatial working memory task, and a second rest. Change in regional CBF from rest to task showed significant normalized and absolute CBF reductions in posterior cingulate, posterior-inferior precuneus, and medial frontal lobes . A Statistical Parametric Mapping connectivity analysis, with an a priori seed in the posterior cingulate cortex, produced deactivation connectivity patterns consistent with the classic “default mode network” and activation connectivity anatomically consistent with engagement in visuospatial tasks. The large task-related CBF decrease in posterior-inferior precuneus relative to its anterior and middle portions adds evidence for the precuneus’ heterogeneity. The posterior cingulate and posterior-inferior precuneus were also regions of the highest CBF at rest and during task performance. The difference in regional CBF between intrinsic (resting) and evoked (task) activity levels may represent functional readiness or reserve vulnerable to diminution by conditions affecting perfusion.

Keywords: ASL, cerebral blood flow, cingulate, default mode network, precuneus

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