Default-mode-like network activation in awake rodents

PLoS One. 2011;6(11):e27839. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0027839. Epub 2011 Nov 18.


During wakefulness and in absence of performing tasks or sensory processing, the default-mode network (DMN), an intrinsic central nervous system (CNS) network, is in an active state. Non-human primate and human CNS imaging studies have identified the DMN in these two species. Clinical imaging studies have shown that the pattern of activity within the DMN is often modulated in various disease states (e.g., Alzheimer's, schizophrenia or chronic pain). However, whether the DMN exists in awake rodents has not been characterized. The current data provides evidence that awake rodents also possess 'DMN-like' functional connectivity, but only subsequent to habituation to what is initially a novel magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) environment as well as physical restraint. Specifically, the habituation process spanned across four separate scanning sessions (Day 2, 4, 6 and 8). At Day 8, significant (p<0.05) functional connectivity was observed amongst structures such as the anterior cingulate (seed region), retrosplenial, parietal, and hippocampal cortices. Prior to habituation (Day 2), functional connectivity was only detected (p<0.05) amongst CNS structures known to mediate anxiety (i.e., anterior cingulate (seed region), posterior hypothalamic area, amygdala and parabracial nucleus). In relating functional connectivity between cingulate-default-mode and cingulate-anxiety structures across Days 2-8, a significant inverse relationship (r = -0.65, p = 0.0004) was observed between these two functional interactions such that increased cingulate-DMN connectivity corresponded to decreased cingulate anxiety network connectivity. This investigation demonstrates that the cingulate is an important component of both the rodent DMN-like and anxiety networks.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Anxiety / physiopathology
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Gyrus Cinguli / anatomy & histology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Hypothalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Hypothalamus / physiology
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Parietal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Long-Evans
  • Respiratory Rate / physiology
  • Wakefulness / physiology*