An edge-centric perspective on the human connectome: Link communities in the brain

Marcel A. de Reus, Victor M. Saenger, René S. Kahn, Martijn P. van den Heuvel

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Abstract

Brain function depends on efficient processing and integration of information within a complex network of neural interactions, known as the connectome. An important aspect of connectome architecture is the existence of community structure, providing an anatomical basis for the occurrence of functional specialization. Typically, communities are defined as groups of densely connected network nodes, representing clusters of brain regions. Looking at the connectome from a different perspective, instead focusing on the interconnecting links or edges, we find that the white matter pathways between brain regions also exhibit community structure. Eleven link communities were identified: five spanning through the midline fissure, three through the left hemisphere and three through the right hemisphere. We show that these link communities are consistently identifiable and investigate the network characteristics of their underlying white matter pathways. Furthermore, examination of the relationship between link communities and brain regions revealed that the majority of brain regions participate in multiple link communities. In particular, the highly connected and central hub regions showed a rich level of community participation, supporting the notion that these hubs play a pivotal role as confluence zones in which neural information from different domains merges.

Original languageEnglish
Article number20130527
JournalPhilosophical Transactions of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences
Volume369
Issue number1653
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2014
Externally publishedYes

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Keywords

  • Brain
  • Connectome
  • Graph theory
  • Link communities
  • Network

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