The precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex plays a pivotal role in the default mode network: Evidence from a partial correlation network analysis

Neuroimage. 2008 Sep 1;42(3):1178-84. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.05.059. Epub 2008 Jun 12.


Recent research has shown that intrinsic brain activity as observed by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) manifest itself as coherent signal changes in networks encompassing brain regions that span long-range neuronal pathways. One of these networks, the so called default mode network, has become the primary target in recent investigations to link intrinsic activity to cognition and how intrinsic signal changes may be altered in disease. In this study we assessed functional connectivity within the default mode network during both rest and a continuous working memory task on a region-by-region basis using partial correlation analysis, a data-driven method that provides insight into effective connectivity within neuronal networks. Prominent features of functional connectivity within the default mode network included an overall strong level of interaction between the precuneus/posterior cingulate region and the rest of the default mode network, as well as a high degree of interaction between the left and right medial temporal lobes combined with weak interactions between the medial temporal lobes and the rest of the default mode network. Additionally, we found support for strong interactions between the precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex and the left inferior parietal lobe as well as between the dorsal and ventral sections of the medial prefrontal cortex. The suggested pivotal role of the precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex in the default mode network is discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*