Task- and resting-state functional connectivity of brain regions related to affection and susceptible to concurrent cognitive demand.
A recent fMRI-study revealed neural responses for affective processing of stimuli for which overt attention irrespective of stimulus valence was required in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) and bilateral amygdala (AMY): activation decreased with increasing cognitive demand. To further characterize the network putatively related to this attenuation, we here characterized these regions with respect to their functional properties and connectivity patterns in task-dependent and task-independent states. All experiments of the BrainMap database activating the seed regions OFC and bilateral AMY were identified. Their functional characteristics were quantitatively inferred using the behavioral meta-data of the retrieved experiments. Task-dependent functional connectivity was characterized by meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM) of significant co-activations with these seed regions. Task-independent resting-state functional connectivity analysis in a sample of 100 healthy subjects complemented these analyses. All three seed regions co-activated with subgenual cingulum (SGC), precuneus (PCu) and nucleus accumbens (NAcc) in the task-dependent MACM analysis. Task-independent resting-state connectivity revealed significant coupling of the seeds only with the SGC, but not the PCu and the NAcc. The former region (SGC) moreover was shown to feature significant resting-state connectivity with all other regions implicated in the network connected to regions where emotional processing may be modulated by a cognitive distractor. Based on its functional profile and connectivity pattern, we suggest that the SGC might serve as a key hub in the identified network, as such linking autobiographic information [PCu], reward [NAcc], (reinforce) values [OFC] and emotional significance [AMY]. Such a role, in turn, may allow the SGC to influence the OFC and AMY to modulate affective processing.