Biological Characteristics of Connection-Wise Resting-State Functional Connectivity Strength

Rory Pijnenburg, Lianne H Scholtens, Dante Mantini, Wim Vanduffel, Lisa Feldman Barrett, Martijn P van den Heuvel

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Functional connectivity is defined as the statistical dependency of neurophysiological activity between 2 separate brain areas. To investigate the biological characteristics of resting-state functional connectivity (rsFC)-and in particular the significance of connection-wise variation in time-series correlations-rsFC was compared with strychnine-based connectivity measured in the macaque. Strychnine neuronography is a historical technique that induces activity in cortical areas through means of local administration of the substance strychnine. Strychnine causes local disinhibition through GABA suppression and leads to subsequent activation of functional pathways. Multiple resting-state fMRI recordings were acquired in 4 macaques (examining in total 299 imaging runs) from which a group-averaged rsFC matrix was constructed. rsFC was observed to be higher (P < 0.0001) between region-pairs with a strychnine-based connection as compared with region-pairs with no strychnine-based connection present. In particular, higher resting-state connectivity was observed in connections that were relatively stronger (weak < moderate < strong; P < 0.01) and in connections that were bidirectional (P < 0.0001) instead of unidirectional in strychnine-based connectivity. Our results imply that the level of correlation between brain areas as extracted from resting-state fMRI relates to the strength of underlying interregional functional pathways.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4646-4653
Number of pages8
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number11
Early online date21 Jan 2019
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2019


  • correlation
  • functional connectivity
  • resting-state
  • strength
  • strychnine


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