Communications Biology (Dec 2023)

Mapping and comparing fMRI connectivity networks across species

  • Marco Pagani,
  • Daniel Gutierrez‐Barragan,
  • A. Elizabeth de Guzman,
  • Ting Xu,
  • Alessandro Gozzi

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 6, no. 1
pp. 1 – 15


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Abstract Technical advances in neuroimaging, notably in fMRI, have allowed distributed patterns of functional connectivity to be mapped in the human brain with increasing spatiotemporal resolution. Recent years have seen a growing interest in extending this approach to rodents and non-human primates to understand the mechanism of fMRI connectivity and complement human investigations of the functional connectome. Here, we discuss current challenges and opportunities of fMRI connectivity mapping across species. We underscore the critical importance of physiologically decoding neuroimaging measures of brain (dys)connectivity via multiscale mechanistic investigations in animals. We next highlight a set of general principles governing the organization of mammalian connectivity networks across species. These include the presence of evolutionarily conserved network systems, a dominant cortical axis of functional connectivity, and a common repertoire of topographically conserved fMRI spatiotemporal modes. We finally describe emerging approaches allowing comparisons and extrapolations of fMRI connectivity findings across species. As neuroscientists gain access to increasingly sophisticated perturbational, computational and recording tools, cross-species fMRI offers novel opportunities to investigate the large-scale organization of the mammalian brain in health and disease.