Research Paper Volume 11, Issue 22 pp 10100—10115

Decreased inter-hemispheric interactions but increased intra-hemispheric integration during typical aging

Qunlin Chen 1, 2, 3, *, , Yunman Xia 4, *, , Kaixiang Zhuang 2, 3, , Xinran Wu 2, 3, , Guangyuan Liu 5, , Jiang Qiu 2, 3, ,

  • 1 School of Mathematics and Statistics, Southwest University, Chongqing, China
  • 2 Key Laboratory of Cognition and Personality, Ministry of Education, Chongqing, China
  • 3 School of Psychology, Southwest University, Chongqing, China
  • 4 State Key Laboratory of Cognitive Neuroscience and Learning, Beijing Normal University, Beijing, China
  • 5 College of Electronic and Information Engineering, Southwest University, Chongqing, China
* Equal contribution

received: July 27, 2019 ; accepted: October 28, 2019 ; published: November 21, 2019 ;
How to Cite

Copyright © 2019 Chen et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


Normal aging is known to be accompanied by decreased segregation across the whole-brain functional network, which is associated with cognitive decline. Although compelling evidence supports reduced segregation and increased integration in whole-brain functional connectivity with aging, the age effect on the reorganization of large-scale functional networks at the hemispheric level remains unclear. Here, we aimed to examine age-related differences in inter-hemispheric interactions and intra-hemispheric integration by using resting-state functional MRI data of a healthy adult lifespan sample. The results showed that age-related decreases in inter-hemispheric integration were found in entire functional networks in both hemispheres, except for the sensorimotor network (SMN) and posterior default mode network (DMN). Specifically, aging was accompanied by increasing inter-hemispheric segregation in the left frontoparietal network (FPN) and left ventral attention network (VAN), as well as right-brain networks located in the auditory network (AN), visual network (VN), and temporal parts of the DMN. Moreover, aging was associated with increasing intra-hemispheric integration within the bilateral VN and posterior DMN while decreasing intra-hemispheric integration within the right VAN. These remarkable changes with aging confirm that there are dynamic interactions between functional networks across the lifespan and provide a means of investigating the mechanisms of cognitive aging.


fMRI: functional magnetic resonance imaging; rs-fMRI: resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging; rsFC: resting-state functional connectivity; SMN: sensorimotor network; AN: auditory network; SN: salience network; VN: visual network; FPN: fronto-parietal network; DAN: dorsal attention network; VAN: ventral attention network; DMN: default mode network; FD: frame wise displacement; SNR: signal-to-noise ratio.