Lateralization of resting state networks and relationship to age and gender

Research Area: Research Year: 2015
Type of Publication: Article Keywords: Laterality; Resting state; Gender differences; Aging; fMRI
Authors: Agcaoglu, O.; Miller, R.; Mayer, A. R.; Hugdahl, Kenneth; Calhoun, V. D.
Brain lateralization is a widely studied topic, however there has been little work focused on lateralization of intrinsic networks (regions showing similar patterns of covariation among voxels) in the resting brain. In this study, we evaluate resting state network lateralization in an age and gender-balanced functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) dataset comprising over 600 healthy subjects ranging in age from 12 to 71. After establishing sample-wide network lateralization properties, we continue with an investigation of age and gender effects on network lateralization. All data was gathered on the same scanner and preprocessed using an automated pipeline (Scott et al., 2011). Networks were extracted via group independent component analysis (gICA) (Calhoun et al., 2001). Twenty-eight resting state networks discussed in previous (Allen et al., 2011) work were re-analyzed with a focus on lateralization. We calculated homotopic voxelwise measures of laterality in addition to a global lateralization measure, called the laterality cofactor, for each network. As expected, many of the intrinsic brain networks were lateralized. For example, the visual network was strongly right lateralized, auditory network and default mode networks were mostly left lateralized. Attentional and frontal networks included nodes that were left lateralized and other nodes that were right lateralized. Age was strongly related to lateralization in multiple regions including sensorimotor network regions precentral gyrus, postcentral gyrus and supramarginal gyrus; and visual network regions lingual gyrus; attentional network regions inferior parietal lobule, superior parietal lobule and middle temporal gyrus; and frontal network regions including the inferior frontal gyrus. Gender showed significant effects mainly in two regions, including visual and frontal networks. For example, the inferior frontal gyrus was more right lateralized in males. Significant effects of age were found in sensorimotor and visual networks on the global measure. In summary, we report a large-sample of lateralization study that finds intrinsic functional brain networks to be highly lateralized, with regions that are strongly related to gender and age locally, and with age a strong factor in lateralization, and gender exhibiting a trend-level effect on global measures of laterality.
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