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Default mode network dissociation in depressive and anxiety states

Abstract

The resting state brain networks, particularly the Default Mode Network (DMN), have been found to be altered in several psychopathological conditions such as depression and anxiety. In this study we hypothesized that cortical areas of the DMN, particularly the anterior regions - medial prefrontal cortex and anterior cingulate cortex - would show an increased functional connectivity associated with both anxiety and depression. Twenty-four healthy participants were assessed using Hamilton Depression and Anxiety Rating Scales and completed a resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging scan. Multiple regression was performed in order to identify which areas of the DMN were associated with anxiety and depression scores. We found that the functional connectivity of the anterior portions of DMN, involved in self-referential and emotional processes, was positively correlated with anxiety and depression scores, whereas posterior areas of the DMN, involved in episodic memory and perceptual processing were negatively correlated with anxiety and depression scores. The dissociation between anterior and posterior cortical midline regions, raises the possibility of a functional specialization within the DMN in terms of self-referential tasks and contributes to the understanding of the cognitive and affective alterations in depressive and anxiety states.

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Acknowledgments

This research was funded by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT): PIC/IC/83290/2007, which is supported by FEDER (POFC – COMPETE). Joana Coutinho was funded by a FCT postdoctoral grant (number: SFRH/BPD/75014/2010)- POPH program and Bial Foundation (grant number 87/12)

Liliana Maia is supported by the Competitive Factors Operational Programme–COMPETE—, by national funds from the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (grant PTDC/PSI-PCL/115316/2009).

Conflict of interest

Joana Coutinho, Sara Fernandes, José Miguel Soares, Liliana Maia, Óscar F. Gonçalves and Adriana Sampaio declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standards

All procedures followed were in accordance with the ethical standards of the responsible committee on human experimentation (institutional and national) and with the Helsinki Declaration of 1975, and the applicable revisions at the time of the investigation. Informed consent was obtained from all patients for being included in the study.

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Correspondence to Joana Fernandes Coutinho.

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Joana Fernandes Coutinho holds a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology, University of Minho.

Sara Veiga Fernandes holds a Master degree in Psychology, University of Minho.

José Miguel Soares holds a Ph.D. degree in Health Sciences, University of Minho.

Liliana Maia holds a Master degree in Biomedical Engineering, University of Minho.

Óscar Filipe Gonçalves holds a P.hD. degree in Counseling and Consulting Psyhcology, University of Massachusetts, Amherst.

Adriana Sampaio holds a Ph.D. degree in Clinical Psychology, University of Minho.

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Coutinho, J.F., Fernandesl, S.V., Soares, J.M. et al. Default mode network dissociation in depressive and anxiety states. Brain Imaging and Behavior 10, 147–157 (2016). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11682-015-9375-7

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Keywords

  • Default mode network
  • Anterior-posterior dissociation
  • Depressive states
  • Anxiety states