Emergence of resting state networks in the preterm human brain

Valentina Doria, Christian Beckmann, Tomoki Arichi, Nazakat Merchant, Michaela Groppo, Federico Turkheimer, Serena Counsell, Maria Murgasova, Paul Aljabar, Rita Nunes, David Larkman, G Rees, David Edwards

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

393 Citations (Scopus)


The functions of the resting state networks (RSNs) revealed by functional MRI remain unclear, but it has seemed possible that networks emerge in parallel with the development of related cognitive functions. We tested the alternative hypothesis: that the full repertoire of resting state dynamics emerges during the period of rapid neural growth before the normal time of birth at term (around 40 wk of gestation). We used a series of independent analytical techniques to map in detail the development of different networks in 70 infants born between 29 and 43 wk of postmenstrual age (PMA). We characterized and charted the development of RSNs from recognizable but often fragmentary elements at 30 wk of PMA to full facsimiles of adult patterns at term. Visual, auditory, somatosensory, motor, default mode, frontoparietal, and executive control networks developed at different rates; however, by term, complete networks were present, several of which were integrated with thalamic activity. These results place the emergence of RSNs largely during the period of rapid neural growth in the third trimester of gestation, suggesting that they are formed before the acquisition of cognitive competencies in later childhood.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)20015-20020
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number46
Early online date1 Nov 2010
Publication statusPublished - 16 Nov 2010


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