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Reduced brain resting-state network specificity in infants compared with adults

Authors Wylie K, Rojas D, Ross R, Hunter S, Maharajh K, Cornier M, Tregellas J

Received 8 March 2014

Accepted for publication 2 April 2014

Published 21 July 2014 Volume 2014:10 Pages 1349—1359


Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Korey P Wylie,1,* Donald C Rojas,1,* Randal G Ross,1 Sharon K Hunter,1 Keeran Maharajh,1 Marc-Andre Cornier,2 Jason R Tregellas1,3

1Department of Psychiatry, 2Division of Endocrinology, Metabolism and Diabetes, Department of Medicine, University of Colorado Anschutz Medical Campus, Aurora, CO, USA; 3Denver Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Denver, CO, USA

*These authors contributed equally to this work

Purpose: Infant resting-state networks do not exhibit the same connectivity patterns as those of young children and adults. Current theories of brain development emphasize developmental progression in regional and network specialization. We compared infant and adult functional connectivity, predicting that infants would exhibit less regional specificity and greater internetwork communication compared with adults.
Patients and methods: Functional magnetic resonance imaging at rest was acquired in 12 healthy, term infants and 17 adults. Resting-state networks were extracted, using independent components analysis, and the resulting components were then compared between the adult and infant groups.
Results: Adults exhibited stronger connectivity in the posterior cingulate cortex node of the default mode network, but infants had higher connectivity in medial prefrontal cortex/anterior cingulate cortex than adults. Adult connectivity was typically higher than infant connectivity within structures previously associated with the various networks, whereas infant connectivity was frequently higher outside of these structures. Internetwork communication was significantly higher in infants than in adults.
Conclusion: We interpret these findings as consistent with evidence suggesting that resting-state network development is associated with increasing spatial specificity, possibly reflecting the corresponding functional specialization of regions and their interconnections through experience.

Keywords: functional connectivity magnetic resonance imaging, networks, development, infancy, resting-state, connectivity

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