Altered temporal variance and neural synchronization of spontaneous brain activity in anesthesia

Zirui Huang, Zhiyao Wang, Jianfeng Zhang, Rui Dai, Jinsong Wu, Yuan Li, Weimin Liang, Ying Mao, Zhong Yang, Giles Holland, Jun Zhang, Georg Northoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Recent studies at the cellular and regional levels have pointed out the multifaceted importance of neural synchronization and temporal variance of neural activity. For example, neural synchronization and temporal variance has been shown by us to be altered in patients in the vegetative state (VS). This finding nonetheless leaves open the question of whether these abnormalities are specific to VS or rather more generally related to the absence of consciousness. The aim of our study was to investigate the changes of inter- and intra-regional neural synchronization and temporal variance of resting state activity in anesthetic-induced unconsciousness state. Applying an intra-subject design, we compared resting state activity in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) between awake versus anesthetized states in the same subjects. Replicating previous studies, we observed reduced functional connectivity within the default mode network (DMN) and thalamocortical network in the anesthetized state. Importantly, intra-regional synchronization as measured by regional homogeneity (ReHo) and temporal variance as measured by standard deviation (SD) of the BOLD signal were significantly reduced in especially the cortical midline regions, while increased in the lateral cortical areas in the anesthetized state. We further found significant frequency-dependent effects of SD in the thalamus, which showed abnormally high SD in Slow-5 (0.01-0.027 Hz) in the anesthetized state. Our results show for the first time of altered temporal variance of resting state activity in anesthesia. Combined with our findings in the vegetative state, these findings suggest a close relationship between temporal variance, neural synchronization and consciousness.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)5368-5378
Number of pages11
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - Nov 1 2014
Externally publishedYes


  • Anesthesia
  • Consciousness
  • Cortical midline regions
  • FMRI
  • Functional connectivity
  • Low-frequency fluctuations
  • Resting state

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anatomy
  • Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • General Medicine


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