Association between Functional Connectivity Hubs and Brain Networks


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Abstract

Functional networks are usually accessed with “resting-state” functional magnetic resonance imaging using preselected “seeds” regions. Frequently, however, the selection of the seed locations is arbitrary. Recently, we proposed local functional connectivity density mapping (FCDM), an ultrafast data-driven to locate highly connected brain regions (functional hubs). Here, we used the functional hubs obtained from local FCDM to determine the functional networks of the resting state in 979 healthy subjects without a priori hypotheses on seed locations. In addition, we computed the global functional connectivity hubs. Seven networks covering 80% of the gray matter volume were identified. Four major cortical hubs (ventral precuneus/posterior cingulate, inferior parietal cortex, cuneus, and postcentral gyrus) were linked to 4 cortical networks (default mode, dorsal attention, visual, and somatosensory). Three subcortical networks were associated to the major subcortical hubs (cerebellum, thalamus, and amygdala). The networks differed in their resting activity and topology. The higher coupling and overlap of subcortical networks was associated to higher contribution of short-range functional connectivity in thalamus and cerebellum. Whereas cortical local FCD hubs were also hubs of long-range connectivity, which corroborates the key role of cortical hubs in network architecture, subcortical hubs had minimal long-range connectivity. The significant variability among functional networks may underlie their sensitivity/resilience to neuropathology.

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