Circadian rhythms synchronize a variety of physiological processes ranging from neural activity and hormone secretion to sleep cycles and feeding habits. Despite significant diurnal variation, time-of-day (TOD) is rarely recorded or analyzed in human brain research. Moreover, sleep-wake patterns, diurnal preferences, and daytime alertness vary across individuals, known as sleep chronotypes. Here, we performed graph-theory network analysis on resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data to explore topological differences in whole-brain functional networks between morning and evening sessions (TOD effect), and between extreme morning-type and evening-type chronotypes. To that end, 62 individuals (31 extreme morning, 31 evening-type) underwent two fMRI sessions: about 1 hour after the wake-up time (morning), and 10 hours thereafter, scheduled in accord with their declared habitual sleep-wake pattern. TOD significantly altered functional connectivity (FC) patterns, but there was no significant difference in chronotypic categories. Compared to the morning session, we found relatively increased small-worldness, modularity, assortativity, and synchronization in the evening session, indicating more efficient functional topology. Local measures were changed during the day predominantly across the areas involved in somatomotor, ventral attention, as well as default mode networks. Also, connectivity and hub analyses showed that the somatomotor, ventral attention, and visual networks are the most densely-connected brain areas in both sessions, respectively, with the first being more active in the evening session and the two latter in the morning session. Collectively, these findings suggest TOD can impact classic analyses used in human neuroimaging such as functional connectivity, and should be recorded and included in the analysis of functional neuroimaging data

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Journal: arXiv preprint arXiv:2110.05766. 2021 Oct 12.

Keywords: Chronobiology, chronotype, Circadian rhythm, resting state-fMRI, Sleep, small-world,

Applications: Chronobiology,

CamNtech Reference: M21071

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