The modular and integrative functional architecture of the human brain.
ABSTRACT: Network-based analyses of brain imaging data consistently reveal distinct modules and connector nodes with diverse global connectivity across the modules. How discrete the functions of modules are, how dependent the computational load of each module is to the other modules' processing, and what the precise role of connector nodes is for between-module communication remains underspecified. Here, we use a network model of the brain derived from resting-state functional MRI (rs-fMRI) data and investigate the modular functional architecture of the human brain by analyzing activity at different types of nodes in the network across 9,208 experiments of 77 cognitive tasks in the BrainMap database. Using an author-topic model of cognitive functions, we find a strong spatial correspondence between the cognitive functions and the network's modules, suggesting that each module performs a discrete cognitive function. Crucially, activity at local nodes within the modules does not increase in tasks that require more cognitive functions, demonstrating the autonomy of modules' functions. However, connector nodes do exhibit increased activity when more cognitive functions are engaged in a task. Moreover, connector nodes are located where brain activity is associated with many different cognitive functions. Connector nodes potentially play a role in between-module communication that maintains the modular function of the brain. Together, these findings provide a network account of the brain's modular yet integrated implementation of cognitive functions.
Project description:The human brain develops rapidly in the first postnatal year, in which rewired functional brain networks could shape later behavioral and cognitive performance. Resting-state functional magnetic resonances imaging (rs-fMRI) and complex network analysis have been widely used for characterizing the developmental brain functional connectome. Yet, such studies focusing on the first year of postnatal life are still very limited. Leveraging normally developing longitudinal infant rs-fMRI scans from neonate to one year of age, we investigated how brain functional networks develop at a fine temporal scale (every 3 months). Considering challenges in the infant fMRI-based network analysis, we developed a novel algorithm to construct the robust, temporally consistent and modular structure augmented group-level network based on which functional modules were detected at each age. Our study reveals that the brain functional network is gradually subdivided into an increasing number of functional modules accompanied by the strengthened intra- and inter-modular connectivities. Based on the developing modules, we found connector hubs (the high-centrality regions connecting different modules) emerging and increasing, while provincial hubs (the high-centrality regions connecting regions in the same module) diminishing. Further region-wise longitudinal analysis validates that different hubs have distinct developmental trajectories of the intra- and inter-modular connections suggesting different types of role transitions in network, such as non-hubs to hubs or provincial hubs to connector hubs et al. All findings indicate that functional segregation and integration are both increased in the first year of postnatal life. The module reorganization and hub transition lead to more efficient brain networks, featuring increasingly segregated modular structure and more connector hubs. This study provides the first comprehensive report of the development of functional brain networks at a 3-month interval throughout the first postnatal year of life, which provides essential information to the future neurodevelopmental and developmental disorder studies.
Project description:Humans inevitably go through various stressful events, which initiates a chain of neuroendocrine reactions that may affect brain functions and lead to psychopathological symptoms. Previous studies have shown stress-induced changes in activation of individual brain regions or pairwise inter-regional connectivity. However, it remains unclear how large-scale brain network is reconfigured in response to stress. Using a within-subjects design, we combined the Trier Social Stress Test and graph theoretical method to characterize stress-induced topological alterations of brain functional network. Modularity analysis revealed that the brain network can be divided into frontoparietal, default mode, occipital, subcortical, and central-opercular modules under control and stress conditions, corresponding to several well-known functional systems underpinning cognitive control, self-referential mental processing, visual, salience processing, sensory and motor functions. While the frontoparietal module functioned as a connector module under stress, its within-module connectivity was weakened. The default mode module lost its connector function and its within-module connectivity was enhanced under stress. Moreover, stress altered the capacity to control over information flow in a few regions important for salience processing and self-referential metal processing. Furthermore, there was a trend of negative correlation between modularity and stress response magnitude. These findings demonstrate that acute stress prompts large-scale brain-wide reconfiguration involving multiple functional modules.
Project description:The modular organization of brain networks has been widely investigated using graph theoretical approaches. Recently, it has been demonstrated that graph partitioning methods based on the maximization of global fitness functions, like Newman's Modularity, suffer from a resolution limit, as they fail to detect modules that are smaller than a scale determined by the size of the entire network. Here we explore the effects of this limitation on the study of brain connectivity networks. We demonstrate that the resolution limit prevents detection of important details of the brain modular structure, thus hampering the ability to appreciate differences between networks and to assess the topological roles of nodes. We show that Surprise, a recently proposed fitness function based on probability theory, does not suffer from these limitations. Surprise maximization in brain co-activation and functional connectivity resting state networks reveals the presence of a rich structure of heterogeneously distributed modules, and differences in networks' partitions that are undetectable by resolution-limited methods. Moreover, Surprise leads to a more accurate identification of the network's connector hubs, the elements that integrate the brain modules into a cohesive structure.
Project description:General intelligence is a psychological construct that captures in a single metric the overall level of behavioural and cognitive performance in an individual. While previous research has attempted to localise intelligence in circumscribed brain regions, more recent work focuses on functional interactions between regions. However, even though brain networks are characterised by substantial modularity, it is unclear whether and how the brain's modular organisation is associated with general intelligence. Modelling subject-specific brain network graphs from functional MRI resting-state data (N?=?309), we found that intelligence was not associated with global modularity features (e.g., number or size of modules) or the whole-brain proportions of different node types (e.g., connector hubs or provincial hubs). In contrast, we observed characteristic associations between intelligence and node-specific measures of within- and between-module connectivity, particularly in frontal and parietal brain regions that have previously been linked to intelligence. We propose that the connectivity profile of these regions may shape intelligence-relevant aspects of information processing. Our data demonstrate that not only region-specific differences in brain structure and function, but also the network-topological embedding of fronto-parietal as well as other cortical and subcortical brain regions is related to individual differences in higher cognitive abilities, i.e., intelligence.
Project description:Both natural and engineered networks are often modular. Whether a network node interacts with only nodes from its own module or nodes from multiple modules provides insight into its functional role. The participation coefficient (<i>PC</i>) is typically used to measure this attribute, although its value also depends on the size and connectedness of the module it belongs to and may lead to nonintuitive identification of highly connected nodes. Here, we develop a normalized <i>PC</i> that reduces the influence of intramodular connectivity compared with the conventional <i>PC</i>. Using brain, <i>C. elegans</i>, airport, and simulated networks, we show that our measure of participation is not influenced by the size or connectedness of modules, while preserving conceptual and mathematical properties, of the classic formulation of <i>PC</i>. Unlike the conventional <i>PC</i>, we identify London and New York as high participators in the air traffic network and demonstrate stronger associations with working memory in human brain networks, yielding new insights into nodal participation across network modules.
Project description:The human brain network is modular-comprised of communities of tightly interconnected nodes1. This network contains local hubs, which have many connections within their own communities, and connector hubs, which have connections diversely distributed across communities2,3. A mechanistic understanding of these hubs and how they support cognition has not been demonstrated. Here, we leveraged individual differences in hub connectivity and cognition. We show that a model of hub connectivity accurately predicts the cognitive performance of 476 individuals in four distinct tasks. Moreover, there is a general optimal network structure for cognitive performance-individuals with diversely connected hubs and consequent modular brain networks exhibit increased cognitive performance, regardless of the task. Critically, we find evidence consistent with a mechanistic model in which connector hubs tune the connectivity of their neighbors to be more modular while allowing for task appropriate information integration across communities, which increases global modularity and cognitive performance.
Project description:In the recent studies, it is suggested that the analysis of transcriptomic change of functional modules instead of individual genes would be more effective for system-wide identification of cellular functions. This could also provide a new possibility for the better understanding of difference between human and chimpanzee.In this study, we analyzed to find molecular characteristics of human brain functions from the difference of transcriptome between human and chimpanzee's brain using the functional module-centric co-expression analysis. We performed analysis of brain disease association and systems-level connectivity of species-specific co-expressed functional modules.Throughout the analyses, we found human-specific functional modules and significant overlap between their genes in known brain disease genes, suggesting that human brain disorder could be mediated by the perturbation of modular activities emerged in human brain specialization. In addition, the human-specific modules having neurobiological functions exhibited higher networking than other functional modules. This finding suggests that the expression of neural functions are more connected than other functions, and the resulting high-order brain functions could be identified as a result of consolidated inter-modular gene activities. Our result also showed that the functional module based transcriptome analysis has a potential to expand molecular understanding of high-order complex functions like cognitive abilities and brain disorders.
Project description:The modular organization of the brain network can vary in two fundamental ways. The amount of inter- versus intra-modular connections between network nodes can be altered, or the community structure itself can be perturbed, in terms of which nodes belong to which modules (or communities). Alterations have previously been reported in modularity, which is a function of the proportion of intra-modular edges over all modules in the network. For example, we have reported that modularity is decreased in functional brain networks in schizophrenia: There are proportionally more inter-modular edges and fewer intra-modular edges. However, despite numerous and increasing studies of brain modular organization, it is not known how to test for differences in the community structure, i.e., the assignment of regional nodes to specific modules. Here, we introduce a method based on the normalized mutual information between pairs of modular networks to show that the community structure of the brain network is significantly altered in schizophrenia, using resting-state fMRI in 19 participants with childhood-onset schizophrenia and 20 healthy participants. We also develop tools to show which specific nodes (or brain regions) have significantly different modular communities between groups, a subset that includes right insular and perisylvian cortical regions. The methods that we propose are broadly applicable to other experimental contexts, both in neuroimaging and other areas of network science.
Project description:Graph theory provides a powerful framework to investigate brain functional connectivity networks and their modular organization. However, most graph-based methods suffer from a fundamental resolution limit that may have affected previous studies and prevented detection of modules, or "communities", that are smaller than a specific scale. Surprise, a resolution-limit-free function rooted in discrete probability theory, has been recently introduced and applied to brain networks, revealing a wide size-distribution of functional modules (Nicolini and Bifone, 2016), in contrast with many previous reports. However, the use of Surprise is limited to binary networks, while brain networks are intrinsically weighted, reflecting a continuous distribution of connectivity strengths between different brain regions. Here, we propose Asymptotical Surprise, a continuous version of Surprise, for the study of weighted brain connectivity networks, and validate this approach in synthetic networks endowed with a ground-truth modular structure. We compare Asymptotical Surprise with leading community detection methods currently in use and show its superior sensitivity in the detection of small modules even in the presence of noise and intersubject variability such as those observed in fMRI data. We apply our novel approach to functional connectivity networks from resting state fMRI experiments, and demonstrate a heterogeneous modular organization, with a wide distribution of clusters spanning multiple scales. Finally, we discuss the implications of these findings for the identification of connector hubs, the brain regions responsible for the integration of the different network elements, showing that the improved resolution afforded by Asymptotical Surprise leads to a different classification compared to current methods.
Project description:BACKGROUND: Biological networks characterize the interactions of biomolecules at a systems-level. One important property of biological networks is the modular structure, in which nodes are densely connected with each other, but between which there are only sparse connections. In this report, we attempted to find the relationship between the network topology and formation of modular structure by comparing gene co-expression networks with random networks. The organization of gene functional modules was also investigated. RESULTS: We constructed a genome-wide Arabidopsis gene co-expression network (AGCN) by using 1094 microarrays. We then analyzed the topological properties of AGCN and partitioned the network into modules by using an efficient graph clustering algorithm. In the AGCN, 382 hub genes formed a clique, and they were densely connected only to a small subset of the network. At the module level, the network clustering results provide a systems-level understanding of the gene modules that coordinate multiple biological processes to carry out specific biological functions. For instance, the photosynthesis module in AGCN involves a very large number (> 1000) of genes which participate in various biological processes including photosynthesis, electron transport, pigment metabolism, chloroplast organization and biogenesis, cofactor metabolism, protein biosynthesis, and vitamin metabolism. The cell cycle module orchestrated the coordinated expression of hundreds of genes involved in cell cycle, DNA metabolism, and cytoskeleton organization and biogenesis. We also compared the AGCN constructed in this study with a graphical Gaussian model (GGM) based Arabidopsis gene network. The photosynthesis, protein biosynthesis, and cell cycle modules identified from the GGM network had much smaller module sizes compared with the modules found in the AGCN, respectively. CONCLUSION: This study reveals new insight into the topological properties of biological networks. The preferential hub-hub connections might be necessary for the formation of modular structure in gene co-expression networks. The study also reveals new insight into the organization of gene functional modules.