Resting-State Connectivity of the Left Frontal Cortex to the Default Mode and Dorsal Attention Network Supports Reserve in Mild Cognitive Impairment

Nicolai Franzmeier, Jens Göttler, Timo Grimmer, Alexander Drzezga, Miguel A. Araque Caballero, Lee Simon-Vermot, Alexander N. W. Taylor, Katharina Beurger, Cihan Catak, Daniel Janowitz, Claudia Mueller, Marco Duering, Christian Sorg, Michael Ewers

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Reserve refers to the phenomenon of relatively preserved cognition in disproportion to the extent of neuropathology, e.g., in Alzheimer’s disease. A putative functional neural substrate underlying reserve is global functional connectivity of the left lateral frontal cortex (LFC, Brodmann Area 6/44). Resting-state fMRI-assessed global LFCconnectivity is associated with protective factors (education) and better maintenance of memory in mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Since the LFC is a hub of the frontoparietal control network that regulates the activity of other networks, the question arises whether LFC-connectivity to specific networks rather than the whole-brain may underlie reserve. We assessed resting-state fMRI in 24 MCI and 16 healthy controls (HC) and in an independent validation sample (23 MCI/32 HC). Seed-based LFC-connectivity to seven major resting-state networks (i.e., fronto-parietal, limbic,
dorsal-attention, somatomotor, default-mode, ventral-attention, visual) was computed, reserve was quantified as residualized memory performance after accounting for age and hippocampal atrophy. In both samples of MCI, LFC-activity was anti-correlated with the default-mode network (DMN), but positively correlated with the dorsal-attention network (DAN). Greater education predicted stronger LFC-DMN-connectivity (anticorrelation) and LFC-DAN-connectivity. Stronger LFC-DMN and LFC-DAN-connectivity each predicted higher reserve, consistently in both MCI samples. No associations were detected for LFC-connectivity to other networks. These novel results extend our previous findings on global functional connectivity of the LFC, showing that LFCconnectivity specifically to the DAN and DMN, two core memory networks, enhances reserve in the memory domain in MCI.
Original languageEnglish
Article number264
Number of pages11
JournalFrontiers in Aging Neuroscience
Issue numberAUG
Publication statusPublished - 07 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Cognitive reserve
  • mild cognitive impairment
  • frontoparietal control network
  • memory
  • Functional connectivity
  • Frontoparietal control network
  • Mild cognitive impairment
  • Memory


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