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  The age-dependent relationship between resting heart rate variability and functional brain connectivity

Kumral, D., Schaare, H. L., Beyer, F., Reinelt, J., Uhlig, M., Liem, F., et al. (2019). The age-dependent relationship between resting heart rate variability and functional brain connectivity. NeuroImage, 185, 521-533. doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.10.027.

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Kumral, Deniz1, 2, Author              
Schaare, Herma Lina1, 3, Author              
Beyer, Frauke1, 4, Author              
Reinelt, Janis1, Author              
Uhlig, Marie1, 3, Author              
Liem, Franz1, Author              
Lampe, Leonie1, Author              
Babayan, Anahit1, Author              
Reiter, Andrea1, 5, Author              
Erbey, Miray2, Author              
Röbbig, Josefin1, Author              
Loeffler, Markus6, Author
Schroeter, Matthias L.1, 6, 7, Author              
Hüsser, Daniela 8, Author
Witte, A. Veronica1, Author              
Villringer, Arno1, 2, 4, 6, 9, Author              
Gaebler, Michael1, 2, 6, Author              
1Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              
2Berlin School of Mind and Brain, Humboldt University Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3International Max Planck Research School on Neuroscience of Communication, Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Collaborative Research Center Obesity Mechanisms, Institute of Biochemistry, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
5Lifespan Developmental Neuroscience, Department of Psychology, TU Dresden, Germany, ou_persistent22              
6Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases (LIFE), University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
7Clinic for Cognitive Neurology, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
8Department for Electrophysiology, Heart Center, Helios Hospital, University of Leipzig, Germany, ou_persistent22              
9Center for Stroke Research, Charité University Medicine Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Heart rate variability; Aging; Eigenvector centrality mapping; Brain structure; Voxel-based morphometry; Default mode network
 Abstract: Resting heart rate variability (HRV), an index of parasympathetic cardioregulation and an individual trait marker related to mental and physical health, decreases with age. Previous studies have associated resting HRV with structural and functional properties of the brain – mainly in cortical midline and limbic structures. We hypothesized that aging affects the relationship between resting HRV and brain structure and function. In 388 healthy subjects of three age groups (140 younger: 26.0 ± 4.2 years, 119 middle-aged: 46.3 ± 6.2 years, 129 older: 66.9 ± 4.7 years), gray matter volume (GMV, voxel-based morphometry) and resting state functional connectivity (eigenvector centrality mapping and exploratory seed-based functional connectivity) were related to resting HRV, measured as the root mean square of successive differences (RMSSD). Confirming previous findings, resting HRV decreased with age. For HRV-related GMV, there were no statistically significant differences between the age groups, nor similarities across all age groups. In whole-brain functional connectivity analyses, we found an age-dependent association between resting HRV and eigenvector centrality in the bilateral ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), driven by the younger adults. Across all age groups, HRV was positively correlated with network centrality in the bilateral posterior cingulate cortex. Seed-based functional connectivity analysis using the vmPFC cluster revealed an HRV-related cortico-cerebellar network in younger but not in middle-aged or older adults. Our results indicate that the decrease of HRV with age is accompanied by changes in functional connectivity along the cortical midline. This extends our knowledge of brain-body interactions and their changes over the lifespan.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-10-052018-06-262018-10-092018-10-102019-01-15
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.10.027
PMID: 30312808
Other: Epub 2018
 Degree: -



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Funding organization : LIFE – Leipzig Research Center for Civilization Diseases at the University of Leipzig
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Funding program : European Regional Development Fund
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)
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Funding organization : Free State of Saxony
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Funding organization : European Union (EU)

Source 1

Title: NeuroImage
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Orlando, FL : Academic Press
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 185 Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 521 - 533 Identifier: ISSN: 1053-8119
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954922650166