Stress-related noradrenergic activity prompts large-scale neural network reconfiguration

Erno J. Hermans, Hein J. F. van Marle, Lindsey Ossewaarde, Marloes J. A. G. Henckens, Shaozheng Qin, Marlieke T. R. van Kesteren, Vincent C. Schoots, Helena Cousijn, Mark Rijpkema, Robert Oostenveld, Guillén Fernández

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Acute stress shifts the brain into a state that fosters rapid defense mechanisms. Stress-related neuromodulators are thought to trigger this change by altering properties of large-scale neural populations throughout the brain. We investigated this brain-state shift in humans. During exposure to a fear-related acute stressor, responsiveness and interconnectivity within a network including cortical (frontoinsular, dorsal anterior cingulate, inferotemporal, and temporoparietal) and subcortical (amygdala, thalamus, hypothalamus, and midbrain) regions increased as a function of stress response magnitudes. β-adrenergic receptor blockade, but not cortisol synthesis inhibition, diminished this increase. Thus, our findings reveal that noradrenergic activation during acute stress results in prolonged coupling within a distributed network that integrates information exchange between regions involved in autonomic-neuroendocrine control and vigilant attentional reorienting
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1151-1153
Number of pages3
Issue number6059
Publication statusPublished - 25 Nov 2011


  • Adolescent
  • Adrenergic Neurons
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Adult
  • Affect
  • Attention
  • Autonomic Nervous System
  • Brain
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Functional Neuroimaging
  • Heart Rate
  • Humans
  • Hydrocortisone
  • Journal Article
  • Locus Coeruleus
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Metyrapone
  • Nerve Net
  • Neurosecretory Systems
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Norepinephrine
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Saliva
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Young Adult
  • alpha-Amylases

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