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Franzmeier, Nicolai; Göttler, Jens; Grimmer, Timo; Drzezga, Alexander; Araque-Caballero, Miguel A.; Simon-Vermot, Lee; Taylor, Alexander N. W.; Bürger, Katharina; Catak, Cihan; Janowitz, Daniel; Müller, Claudia; Düring, Marco; Sorg, Christian; Ewers, Michael (2017): Resting-State Connectivity of the Left Frontal Cortex to the Default Mode and Dorsal Attention Network Supports Reserve in Mild Cognitive Impairment. In: Frontiers in Aging Neuroscience, Vol. 9, 264
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Abstract

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 LFC-connectivity 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 (anti-correlation) 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 LFC-connectivity specifically to the DAN and DMN, two core memory networks, enhances reserve in the memory domain in MCI.