Variation in functional connectivity along anterior-to-posterior intraparietal sulcus, and relationship with age across late childhood and adolescence

The intraparietal sulcus (IPS), a region in the dorsal attention network (DAN), has been implicated in multi-sensory attention and working memory. Working memory and attention develop across childhood; changes in functional connectivity within the DAN may relate to this maturation. Previous findings regarding fronto-parietal intrinsic functional connectivity age-effects were mixed. Our study aimed to circumvent limitations of previous work using a large cross-sectional sample, 183 typically developing participants 6.5-20 years, from the Autism Brain Imaging Data Exchange, and seed regions along the anterior-to-posterior axis of the IPS. These seeds, IPS0-4, were entered into functional connectivity models. Group-level models investigated differential connectivity along the IPS and relationships with age. Anterior IPS3/4 exhibited greater connectivity with sensorimotor/pre-motor regions. Posterior IPS0/1 demonstrated greater connectivity with dorsal and ventral visual regions. Positive age-effects were found between IPS3-4 and visual regions. Negative age-effects were found between IPS and superior parietal and medial orbitofrontal cortices. Follow-up region of interest analyses were used to estimate age-effects for DAN and anticorrelated default mode network regions. Results suggest age-effects on IPS functional connectivity are relatively modest, and may differ pre- and across-adolescence. Studying typical age-related connectivity variability within this network may help to understand neurodevelopmental disorders marked by impaired attention.

Keywords: Attention; Functional connectivity; IPS; Resting-state fMRI; Visual-spatial; Visuotopic.