Communications Biology (Jan 2024)

Modular subgraphs in large-scale connectomes underpin spontaneous co-fluctuation events in mouse and human brains

  • Elisabeth Ragone,
  • Jacob Tanner,
  • Youngheun Jo,
  • Farnaz Zamani Esfahlani,
  • Joshua Faskowitz,
  • Maria Pope,
  • Ludovico Coletta,
  • Alessandro Gozzi,
  • Richard Betzel

Journal volume & issue
Vol. 7, no. 1
pp. 1 – 14


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Abstract Previous studies have adopted an edge-centric framework to study fine-scale network dynamics in human fMRI. To date, however, no studies have applied this framework to data collected from model organisms. Here, we analyze structural and functional imaging data from lightly anesthetized mice through an edge-centric lens. We find evidence of “bursty” dynamics and events - brief periods of high-amplitude network connectivity. Further, we show that on a per-frame basis events best explain static FC and can be divided into a series of hierarchically-related clusters. The co-fluctuation patterns associated with each cluster centroid link distinct anatomical areas and largely adhere to the boundaries of algorithmically detected functional brain systems. We then investigate the anatomical connectivity undergirding high-amplitude co-fluctuation patterns. We find that events induce modular bipartitions of the anatomical network of inter-areal axonal projections. Finally, we replicate these same findings in a human imaging dataset. In summary, this report recapitulates in a model organism many of the same phenomena observed in previously edge-centric analyses of human imaging data. However, unlike human subjects, the murine nervous system is amenable to invasive experimental perturbations. Thus, this study sets the stage for future investigation into the causal origins of fine-scale brain dynamics and high-amplitude co-fluctuations. Moreover, the cross-species consistency of the reported findings enhances the likelihood of future translation.