Gradients of structure–function tethering across neocortex

Bertha Vázquez-Rodríguez, Laura E. Suárez, Ross D. Markello, Golia Shafiei, Casey Paquola, Patric Hagmann, Martijn P. Van Den Heuvel, Boris C. Bernhardt, R. Nathan Spreng, Bratislav Misic*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review


The white matter architecture of the brain imparts a distinct signature on neuronal coactivation patterns. Interregional projections promote synchrony among distant neuronal populations, giving rise to richly patterned functional networks. A variety of statistical, communication, and biophysical models have been proposed to study the relationship between brain structure and function, but the link is not yet known. In the present report we seek to relate the structural and functional connection profiles of individual brain areas. We apply a simple multilinear model that incorporates information about spatial proximity, routing, and diffusion between brain regions to predict their functional connectivity. We find that structure–function relationships vary markedly across the neocortex. Structure and function correspond closely in unimodal, primary sensory, and motor regions, but diverge in transmodal cortex, particularly the default mode and salience networks. The divergence between structure and function systematically follows functional and cytoarchitectonic hierarchies. Altogether, the present results demonstrate that structural and functional networks do not align uniformly across the brain, but gradually uncouple in higher-order polysensory areas.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)21219-21227
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number42
Early online date30 Sep 2019
Publication statusPublished - 15 Oct 2019


  • Connectome
  • Cortical gradient
  • Structure–function


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