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      Dynamic BOLD functional connectivity in humans and its electrophysiological correlates


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          Neural oscillations subserve many human perceptual and cognitive operations. Accordingly, brain functional connectivity is not static in time, but fluctuates dynamically following the synchronization and desynchronization of neural populations. This dynamic functional connectivity has recently been demonstrated in spontaneous fluctuations of the Blood Oxygen Level-Dependent (BOLD) signal, measured with functional Magnetic Resonance Imaging (fMRI). We analyzed temporal fluctuations in BOLD connectivity and their electrophysiological correlates, by means of long (≈50 min) joint electroencephalographic (EEG) and fMRI recordings obtained from two populations: 15 awake subjects and 13 subjects undergoing vigilance transitions. We identified positive and negative correlations between EEG spectral power (extracted from electrodes covering different scalp regions) and fMRI BOLD connectivity in a network of 90 cortical and subcortical regions (with millimeter spatial resolution). In particular, increased alpha (8–12 Hz) and beta (15–30 Hz) power were related to decreased functional connectivity, whereas gamma (30–60 Hz) power correlated positively with BOLD connectivity between specific brain regions. These patterns were altered for subjects undergoing vigilance changes, with slower oscillations being correlated with functional connectivity increases. Dynamic BOLD functional connectivity was reflected in the fluctuations of graph theoretical indices of network structure, with changes in frontal and central alpha power correlating with average path length. Our results strongly suggest that fluctuations of BOLD functional connectivity have a neurophysiological origin. Positive correlations with gamma can be interpreted as facilitating increased BOLD connectivity needed to integrate brain regions for cognitive performance. Negative correlations with alpha suggest a temporary functional weakening of local and long-range connectivity, associated with an idling state.

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          Network modelling methods for FMRI.

          There is great interest in estimating brain "networks" from FMRI data. This is often attempted by identifying a set of functional "nodes" (e.g., spatial ROIs or ICA maps) and then conducting a connectivity analysis between the nodes, based on the FMRI timeseries associated with the nodes. Analysis methods range from very simple measures that consider just two nodes at a time (e.g., correlation between two nodes' timeseries) to sophisticated approaches that consider all nodes simultaneously and estimate one global network model (e.g., Bayes net models). Many different methods are being used in the literature, but almost none has been carefully validated or compared for use on FMRI timeseries data. In this work we generate rich, realistic simulated FMRI data for a wide range of underlying networks, experimental protocols and problematic confounds in the data, in order to compare different connectivity estimation approaches. Our results show that in general correlation-based approaches can be quite successful, methods based on higher-order statistics are less sensitive, and lag-based approaches perform very poorly. More specifically: there are several methods that can give high sensitivity to network connection detection on good quality FMRI data, in particular, partial correlation, regularised inverse covariance estimation and several Bayes net methods; however, accurate estimation of connection directionality is more difficult to achieve, though Patel's τ can be reasonably successful. With respect to the various confounds added to the data, the most striking result was that the use of functionally inaccurate ROIs (when defining the network nodes and extracting their associated timeseries) is extremely damaging to network estimation; hence, results derived from inappropriate ROI definition (such as via structural atlases) should be regarded with great caution. Copyright © 2010 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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            Intrinsic functional connectivity as a tool for human connectomics: theory, properties, and optimization.

            Resting state functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI) is widely used to investigate brain networks that exhibit correlated fluctuations. While fcMRI does not provide direct measurement of anatomic connectivity, accumulating evidence suggests it is sufficiently constrained by anatomy to allow the architecture of distinct brain systems to be characterized. fcMRI is particularly useful for characterizing large-scale systems that span distributed areas (e.g., polysynaptic cortical pathways, cerebro-cerebellar circuits, cortical-thalamic circuits) and has complementary strengths when contrasted with the other major tool available for human connectomics-high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI). We review what is known about fcMRI and then explore fcMRI data reliability, effects of preprocessing, analysis procedures, and effects of different acquisition parameters across six studies (n = 98) to provide recommendations for optimization. Run length (2-12 min), run structure (1 12-min run or 2 6-min runs), temporal resolution (2.5 or 5.0 s), spatial resolution (2 or 3 mm), and the task (fixation, eyes closed rest, eyes open rest, continuous word-classification) were varied. Results revealed moderate to high test-retest reliability. Run structure, temporal resolution, and spatial resolution minimally influenced fcMRI results while fixation and eyes open rest yielded stronger correlations as contrasted to other task conditions. Commonly used preprocessing steps involving regression of nuisance signals minimized nonspecific (noise) correlations including those associated with respiration. The most surprising finding was that estimates of correlation strengths stabilized with acquisition times as brief as 5 min. The brevity and robustness of fcMRI positions it as a powerful tool for large-scale explorations of genetic influences on brain architecture. We conclude by discussing the strengths and limitations of fcMRI and how it can be combined with HARDI techniques to support the emerging field of human connectomics.
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              Electrophysiological signatures of resting state networks in the human brain.

              Functional neuroimaging and electrophysiological studies have documented a dynamic baseline of intrinsic (not stimulus- or task-evoked) brain activity during resting wakefulness. This baseline is characterized by slow (<0.1 Hz) fluctuations of functional imaging signals that are topographically organized in discrete brain networks, and by much faster (1-80 Hz) electrical oscillations. To investigate the relationship between hemodynamic and electrical oscillations, we have adopted a completely data-driven approach that combines information from simultaneous electroencephalography (EEG) and functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI). Using independent component analysis on the fMRI data, we identified six widely distributed resting state networks. The blood oxygenation level-dependent signal fluctuations associated with each network were correlated with the EEG power variations of delta, theta, alpha, beta, and gamma rhythms. Each functional network was characterized by a specific electrophysiological signature that involved the combination of different brain rhythms. Moreover, the joint EEG/fMRI analysis afforded a finer physiological fractionation of brain networks in the resting human brain. This result supports for the first time in humans the coalescence of several brain rhythms within large-scale brain networks as suggested by biophysical studies.

                Author and article information

                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front Hum Neurosci
                Front. Hum. Neurosci.
                Frontiers in Human Neuroscience
                Frontiers Media S.A.
                28 December 2012
                : 6
                : 339
                Neurology Department and Brain Imaging Center, Goethe University Frankfurt am Main, Germany
                Author notes

                Edited by: Johanna Zumer, Radboud University Nijmegen, Netherlands

                Reviewed by: Alexander Schäfer, Max Planck Institute for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Germany; Pablo Barttfeld, Universidad de Buenos Aires, Argentina; Marieke L. Scholvinck, Ernst Strungmann Institute for Neuroscience in Cooperation with Max Planck Society, Germany

                *Correspondence: Enzo Tagliazucchi, Neurology Department and Brain Imaging Center, Goethe University, Frankfurt am Main, Germany. e-mail: nztglzcch@ 123456gmail.com
                Copyright © 2012 Tagliazucchi, von Wegner, Morzelewski, Brodbeck and Laufs.

                This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and subject to any copyright notices concerning any third-party graphics etc.

                : 06 October 2012
                : 09 December 2012
                Page count
                Figures: 12, Tables: 1, Equations: 9, References: 88, Pages: 22, Words: 11583
                Original Research Article

                dynamic connectivity,eeg-fmri,resting state,brain networks,brain oscillations
                dynamic connectivity, eeg-fmri, resting state, brain networks, brain oscillations


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