When to collect resting-state data: The influence of odor on post-task resting-state connectivity

Neuroimage. 2019 May 1;191:361-366. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2019.02.050. Epub 2019 Feb 25.


The human brain networks at rest represent spontaneous activity that is highly correlated between different brain regions. Previous studies have shown that these resting-state networks are flexible and dynamic, and they can be affected by performance of different types of tasks. Moreover, it has been suggested that the re-activation of a task-related brain network during rest promotes learning and improves the expertise on that task. However, it is still unclear whether the presence of different sensory information in the on-task state affects functional connectivity in subsequent resting-state fMRI even though the perception of the sensory information did not induce significant behavioral effects. To clarify this issue, we compared pre- and post-task resting-state fMRI of two groups of participants performing the same task either with an odor context (ODOR group) or without an odor context (AIR group). Seed-based functional connectivity analyses were performed with orbitofrontal cortex, piriform cortex and working-memory core network as seeds. The results showed that an odor context presented during an encoding task induced significant changes in the functional connectivity only within the olfactory network of the post-task resting-state compared to the same post-task situation without previous odor context. No significant difference in functional connectivity were found for the working-memory core network. This evidence emphasizes how the sensory context, in which a task is performed, is relevant for understanding the observed changes of functional connectivity during rest.

Keywords: Functional MRI; Functional connectivity; Olfaction; Resting-state networks; Task-driven state.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neuroimaging / methods*
  • Odorants
  • Olfactory Perception / physiology*
  • Rest / physiology*