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Cereb Cortex. 2007 Oct;17(10):2407-19. Epub 2007 Jan 4.

Small-world anatomical networks in the human brain revealed by cortical thickness from MRI.

Author information

  • 1McConnell Brain Imaging Centre, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Street, Montreal, QC, Canada.

Abstract

An important issue in neuroscience is the characterization for the underlying architectures of complex brain networks. However, little is known about the network of anatomical connections in the human brain. Here, we investigated large-scale anatomical connection patterns of the human cerebral cortex using cortical thickness measurements from magnetic resonance images. Two areas were considered anatomically connected if they showed statistically significant correlations in cortical thickness and we constructed the network of such connections using 124 brains from the International Consortium for Brain Mapping database. Significant short- and long-range connections were found in both intra- and interhemispheric regions, many of which were consistent with known neuroanatomical pathways measured by human diffusion imaging. More importantly, we showed that the human brain anatomical network had robust small-world properties with cohesive neighborhoods and short mean distances between regions that were insensitive to the selection of correlation thresholds. Additionally, we also found that this network and the probability of finding a connection between 2 regions for a given anatomical distance had both exponentially truncated power-law distributions. Our results demonstrated the basic organizational principles for the anatomical network in the human brain compatible with previous functional networks studies, which provides important implications of how functional brain states originate from their structural underpinnings. To our knowledge, this study provides the first report of small-world properties and degree distribution of anatomical networks in the human brain using cortical thickness measurements.

PMID:
17204824
DOI:
10.1093/cercor/bhl149
[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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