skip to main content

Title: Dynamic expression of brain functional systems disclosed by fine-scale analysis of edge time series
Abstract Functional connectivity (FC) describes the statistical dependence between neuronal populations or brain regions in resting-state fMRI studies and is commonly estimated as the Pearson correlation of time courses. Clustering or community detection reveals densely coupled sets of regions constituting resting-state networks or functional systems. These systems manifest most clearly when FC is sampled over longer epochs but appear to fluctuate on shorter timescales. Here, we propose a new approach to reveal temporal fluctuations in neuronal time series. Unwrapping FC signal correlations yields pairwise co-fluctuation time series, one for each node pair or edge, and allows tracking of fine-scale dynamics across the network. Co-fluctuations partition the network, at each time step, into exactly two communities. Sampled over time, the overlay of these bipartitions, a binary decomposition of the original time series, very closely approximates functional connectivity. Bipartitions exhibit characteristic spatiotemporal patterns that are reproducible across participants and imaging runs, capture individual differences, and disclose fine-scale temporal expression of functional systems. Our findings document that functional systems appear transiently and intermittently, and that FC results from the overlay of many variable instances of system expression. Potential applications of this decomposition of functional connectivity into a set of binary patterns are discussed.
Authors:
; ; ; ;
Award ID(s):
2023985
Publication Date:
NSF-PAR ID:
10293692
Journal Name:
Network Neuroscience
Volume:
5
Issue:
2
Page Range or eLocation-ID:
405 to 433
ISSN:
2472-1751
Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
More Like this
  1. Abstract

    Objective. Spontaneous fluctuations of cerebral hemodynamics measured by functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) are widely used to study the network organization of the brain. The temporal correlations among the ultra-slow, <0.1 Hz fluctuations across the brain regions are interpreted as functional connectivity maps and used for diagnostics of neurological disorders. However, despite the interest narrowed in the ultra-slow fluctuations, hemodynamic activity that exists beyond the ultra-slow frequency range could contribute to the functional connectivity, which remains unclear.Approach. In the present study, we have measured the brain-wide hemodynamics in the human participants with functional near-infrared spectroscopy (fNIRS) in a whole-head, cap-based and high-density montage at a sampling rate of 6.25 Hz. In addition, we have acquired resting state fMRI scans in the same group of participants for cross-modal evaluation of the connectivity maps. Then fNIRS data were deliberately down-sampled to a typical fMRI sampling rate of ∼0.5 Hz and the resulted differential connectivity maps were subject to a k-means clustering.Main results. Our diffuse optical topographical analysis of fNIRS data have revealed a default mode network (DMN) in the spontaneous deoxygenated and oxygenated hemoglobin changes, which remarkably resemble the same fMRI network derived from participants. Moreover, we have shown that themore »aliased activities in the down-sampled optical signals have altered the connectivity patterns, resulting in a network organization of aliased functional connectivity in the cerebral hemodynamics.Significance.The results have for the first time demonstrated that fNIRS as a broadly accessible modality can image the resting-state functional connectivity in the posterior midline, prefrontal and parietal structures of the DMN in the human brain, in a consistent pattern with fMRI. Further empowered by the fast sampling rate of fNIRS, our findings suggest the presence of aliased connectivity in the current understanding of the human brain organization.

    « less
  2. Abstract Background There is growing evidence indicating that a number of functional connectivity networks are disrupted at each stage of the full clinical Alzheimer’s disease spectrum. Such differences are also detectable in cognitive normal (CN) carrying mutations of AD risk genes, suggesting a substantial relationship between genetics and AD-altered functional brain networks. However, direct genetic effect on functional connectivity networks has not been measured. Methods Leveraging existing AD functional connectivity studies collected in NeuroSynth, we performed a meta-analysis to identify two sets of brain regions: ones with altered functional connectivity in resting state network and ones without. Then with the brain-wide gene expression data in the Allen Human Brain Atlas, we applied a new biclustering method to identify a set of genes with differential co-expression patterns between these two set of brain regions. Results Differential co-expression analysis using biclustering method led to a subset of 38 genes which showed distinctive co-expression patterns between AD-related and non AD-related brain regions in default mode network. More specifically, we observed 4 sub-clusters with noticeable co-expression difference, where the difference in correlations is above 0.5 on average. Conclusions This work applies a new biclustering method to search for a subset of genes with alteredmore »co-expression patterns in AD-related default mode network regions. Compared with traditional differential expression analysis, differential co-expression analysis yielded many more significant hits with extra insights into the wiring mechanism between genes. Particularly, the differential co-expression pattern was observed between two sets of genes, suggesting potential upstream genetic regulators in AD development.« less
  3. Abstract

    Spontaneous infra-slow (<0.1 Hz) fluctuations in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signals are temporally correlated within large-scale functional brain networks, motivating their use for mapping systems-level brain organization. However, recent electrophysiological and hemodynamic evidence suggest state-dependent propagation of infra-slow fluctuations, implying a functional role for ongoing infra-slow activity. Crucially, the study of infra-slow temporal lag structure has thus far been limited to large groups, as analyzing propagation delays requires extensive data averaging to overcome sampling variability. Here, we use resting-state fMRI data from 11 extensively-sampled individuals to characterize lag structure at the individual level. In addition to stable individual-specific features, we find spatiotemporal topographies in each subject similar to the group average. Notably, we find a set of early regions that are common to all individuals, are preferentially positioned proximal to multiple functional networks, and overlap with brain regions known to respond to diverse behavioral tasks—altogether consistent with a hypothesized ability to broadly influence cortical excitability. Our findings suggest that, like correlation structure, temporal lag structure is a fundamental organizational property of resting-state infra-slow activity.

  4. Abstract Neural activity coordinated across different scales from neuronal circuits to large-scale brain networks gives rise to complex cognitive functions. Bridging the gap between micro- and macro-scale processes, we present a novel framework based on the maximum entropy model to infer a hybrid resting state structural connectome, representing functional interactions constrained by structural connectivity. We demonstrate that the structurally informed network outperforms the unconstrained model in simulating brain dynamics; wherein by constraining the inference model with the network structure we may improve the estimation of pairwise BOLD signal interactions. Further, we simulate brain network dynamics using Monte Carlo simulations with the new hybrid connectome to probe connectome-level differences in excitation-inhibition balance between apolipoprotein E (APOE)-ε4 carriers and noncarriers. Our results reveal sex differences among APOE-ε4 carriers in functional dynamics at criticality; specifically, female carriers appear to exhibit a lower tolerance to network disruptions resulting from increased excitatory interactions. In sum, the new multimodal network explored here enables analysis of brain dynamics through the integration of structure and function, providing insight into the complex interactions underlying neural activity such as the balance of excitation and inhibition.
  5. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rsfMRI) has become a widely used approach for detecting subtle differences in functional brain fluctuations in various studies of the healthy and disordered brain. Such studies are often based on temporal functional connectivity (i.e., the correlation between time courses derived from regions or networks within the fMRI data). While being successful for a number of tasks, temporal connectivity does not fully leverage the available spatial information. In this research study, we present a new perspective on spatial functional connectivity, which involves learning patterns of spatial coupling among brain networks by utilizing recent advances in deep learning as well as the contrastive learning framework. We show that we can learn domain-specific mappings of brain networks that can, in turn, be used to characterize differences between schizophrenia patients and control. Furthermore, we show that the coupling of intradomain networks in the controls is stronger than in patients suffering from the disorder. We also evaluate the coupling among networks of different domains and find various patterns of stronger or weaker coupling among certain domains, which provide additional insights about the brain.