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

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


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)1151-3
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
  • Locus Coeruleus
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Metyrapone
  • Nerve Net
  • Neurosecretory Systems
  • Neurotransmitter Agents
  • Norepinephrine
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Saliva
  • Stress, Psychological
  • Young Adult
  • alpha-Amylases
  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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