Objective sleep disturbances are associated with greater waking resting-state connectivity between the retrosplenial cortex/ hippocampus and various nodes of the default mode network.
Regen W., Kyle SD., Nissen C., Feige B., Baglioni C., Hennig J., Riemann D., Spiegelhalder K.
BACKGROUND: Psychological models highlight the bidirectional role of self-referential processing, introspection, worry and rumination in the development and maintenance of insomnia; however, little is known about the underlying neural substrates. Default mode network (DMN) functional connectivity has been previously linked to these cognitive processes. METHODS: We used fMRI to investigate waking DMN functional connectivity in a well-characterized sample of patients with primary insomnia (PI) and good sleeper controls. RESULTS: We included 20 patients with PI (8 men and 12 women, mean age 42.7 ± 13.4 yr) and 20 controls (8 men and 12 women, mean age 44.1 ± 10.6 yr) in our study. While no between-group differences in waking DMN connectivity were observed, exploratory analyses across all participants suggested that greater waking connectivity between the retrosplenial cortex/hippocampus and various nodes of the DMN was associated with lower sleep efficiency, lower amounts of rapid eye movement sleep and greater sleep-onset latency. LIMITATIONS: Owing to the cross-sectional nature of the study, conclusions about causality cannot be drawn. CONCLUSION: As sleep disturbances represent a transdiagnostic symptom that is characteristic of nearly all psychiatric disorders, our results may hold particular relevance to previous findings of increased DMN connectivity levels in patients with psychiatric disorders.