Acute stress promotes brain network integration and reduces state transition variability

Rong Wang, Shanshan Zhen, Changsong Zhou*, Rongjun Yu*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Despite the prevalence of stress, how brains reconfigure their multilevel, hierarchical functional organization in response to acute stress remains unclear. We examined changes in brain networks after social stress using whole-brain resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) by extending our recently published nested-spectral partition method, which quantified the functional balance between network segregation and integration. Acute stress was found to shift the brain into a more integrated and less segregated state, especially in frontal-temporal regions. Stress also stabilized brain states by reducing the variability of dynamic transition between segregated and integrated states. Transition frequency was associated with the change of cortisol, and transition variability was correlated with cognitive control. Our results show that brain networks tend to be more integrated and less variable after acute stress, possibly to enable efficient coping.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere2204144119
Number of pages3
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number24
Early online date6 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 14 Jun 2022

User-Defined Keywords

  • integration
  • segregation
  • state transition
  • stress


Dive into the research topics of 'Acute stress promotes brain network integration and reduces state transition variability'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this