In recent years, coordinated variations in brain morphology (e.g., volume, thickness) have been employed as a measure of structural association between brain regions to infer large-scale structural correlation networks. Recent evidence suggests that brain networks constructed in this manner are inherently more clustered than random networks of the same size and degree. Thus, null networks constructed by randomizing topology are not a good choice for benchmarking small-world parameters of these networks. In the present report, we investigated the influence of choice of null networks on small-world parameters of gray matter correlation networks in healthy individuals and survivors of acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Three types of null networks were studied: 1) networks constructed by topology randomization (TOP), 2) networks matched to the distributional properties of the observed covariance matrix (HQS), and 3) networks generated from correlation of randomized input data (COR). The results revealed that the choice of null network not only influences the estimated small-world parameters, it also influences the results of between-group differences in small-world parameters. In addition, at higher network densities, the choice of null network influences the direction of group differences in network measures. Our data suggest that the choice of null network is quite crucial for interpretation of group differences in small-world parameters of structural correlation networks. We argue that none of the available null models is perfect for estimation of small-world parameters for correlation networks and the relative strengths and weaknesses of the selected model should be carefully considered with respect to obtained network measures.
Many survivors of breast cancer show significant cognitive impairments, including memory deficits. Inflammation induced by chemotherapy may contribute to hippocampal changes that underlie these deficits. In this cross-sectional study, we measured bilateral hippocampal volumes from high-resolution magnetic resonance images in 42 chemotherapy-treated breast cancer survivors and 35 healthy female controls. Patients with breast cancer were, on average, 4.8 ± 3.4 years off-therapy. In a subset of these participants (20 breast cancer, 23 controls), we quantified serum cytokine levels. Left hippocampal volumes and memory performance were significantly reduced and interleukin-6 (IL-6) and tumor necrosis factor-alpha (TNFα) concentrations were significantly elevated in the breast cancer group compared to controls. In the breast cancer group, lower left hippocampal volume was associated with higher levels of TNFα and lower levels of IL-6 with a significant interaction between these two cytokines suggesting a potential modulatory effect of IL-6 on TNFα. Verbal memory performance was associated with cytokine levels and left hippocampal volume in both groups. These findings provide evidence of altered hippocampal volume and verbal memory difficulties following breast cancer chemotherapy that may be mediated by TNFα and IL-6.
Breast cancer; Chemotherapy; Interleukin-6; Tumor necrosis factor-alpha; Memory; Hippocampus; MRI
Recently, a combination of non-invasive neuroimaging techniques and graph theoretical approaches has provided a unique opportunity for understanding the patterns of the structural and functional connectivity of the human brain (referred to as the human brain connectome). Currently, there is a very large amount of brain imaging data that have been collected, and there are very high requirements for the computational capabilities that are used in high-resolution connectome research. In this paper, we propose a hybrid CPU-GPU framework to accelerate the computation of the human brain connectome. We applied this framework to a publicly available resting-state functional MRI dataset from 197 participants. For each subject, we first computed Pearson’s Correlation coefficient between any pairs of the time series of gray-matter voxels, and then we constructed unweighted undirected brain networks with 58 k nodes and a sparsity range from 0.02% to 0.17%. Next, graphic properties of the functional brain networks were quantified, analyzed and compared with those of 15 corresponding random networks. With our proposed accelerating framework, the above process for each network cost 80∼150 minutes, depending on the network sparsity. Further analyses revealed that high-resolution functional brain networks have efficient small-world properties, significant modular structure, a power law degree distribution and highly connected nodes in the medial frontal and parietal cortical regions. These results are largely compatible with previous human brain network studies. Taken together, our proposed framework can substantially enhance the applicability and efficacy of high-resolution (voxel-based) brain network analysis, and have the potential to accelerate the mapping of the human brain connectome in normal and disease states.
Recently, an increasing body of evidence suggests that developmental abnormalities related to schizophrenia may occur as early as the neonatal stage. Impairments of brain gray matter and wiring problems of axonal fibers are commonly suspected to be responsible for the disconnection hypothesis in schizophrenia adults, but significantly less is known in neonates. In this study, we investigated 26 neonates who were at genetic risk for schizophrenia and 26 demographically matched healthy neonates using both morphological and white matter networks to examine possible brain connectivity abnormalities. The results showed that both populations exhibited small-world network topology. Morphological network analysis indicated that the brain structural associations of the high-risk neonates tended to have globally lower efficiency, longer connection distance, and less number of hub nodes and edges with relatively higher betweenness. Subgroup analysis showed that male neonates were significantly disease-affected, while the female neonates were not. White matter network analysis, however, showed that the fiber networks were globally unaffected, although several subcortical-cortical connections had significantly less number of fibers in high-risk neonates. This study provides new evidences in support of the disconnection hypothesis, reinforcing the notion that the genetic risk of schizophrenia induces alterations in both gray matter structural associations and white matter connectivity.
High genetic risk; newborn infant; diffusion tensor imaging; schizophrenia; brain development; network analysis
Brain gray matter alterations have been reported in cross-sectional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies of breast cancer patients after cancer treatment. Here we report the first prospective MRI study of women undergoing treatment for breast cancer, with or without chemotherapy, as well as healthy controls. We hypothesized that chemotherapy-associated changes in gray matter density would be detectable 1 month after treatment, with partial recovery 1 year later. Participants included breast cancer patients treated with (CTx+, N = 17) or without (CTx–, N = 12) chemotherapy and matched healthy controls (N = 18). MRI scans were acquired at baseline (after surgery but before radiation, chemotherapy, and/or anti-estrogen treatment), 1 month after completion of chemotherapy (M1), and 1 year later (Y1). Voxel-based morphometry (VBM) was used to evaluate gray matter density differences between groups and over time. There were no between-group gray matter differences at baseline. Group-by-time interactions showed declines from baseline to M1 in both cancer groups relative to controls. Within-group analyses indicated that at M1 relative to baseline the CTx+ group had decreased gray matter density in bilateral frontal, temporal, and cerebellar regions and right thalamus. Recovery was seen at Y1 in some regions, although persistent decreases were also apparent. No significant within-group changes were found in the CTx– or control groups. Findings were not attributable to recency of cancer surgery, disease stage, psychiatric symptoms, psychotropic medication use, or hormonal treatment status. This study is the first to use a prospective, longitudinal approach to document decreased brain gray matter density shortly after breast cancer chemotherapy and its course of recovery over time. These gray matter alterations appear primarily related to the effects of chemotherapy, rather than solely reflecting host factors, the cancer disease process, or effects of other cancer treatments.
Adjuvant chemotherapy; Brain; Breast cancer; Magnetic resonance imaging; Neuroimaging
Little is known about the changes of brain structural and functional connectivity networks underlying the pathophysiology in migraine. We aimed to investigate how the cortical network reorganization is altered by frequent cortical overstimulation associated with migraine.
Gray matter volumes and resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging signal correlations were employed to construct structural and functional networks between brain regions in 43 female patients with migraine (PM) and 43 gender-matched healthy controls (HC) by using graph theory-based approaches. Compared with the HC group, the patients showed abnormal global topology in both structural and functional networks, characterized by higher mean clustering coefficients without significant change in the shortest absolute path length, which indicated that the PM lost optimal topological organization in their cortical networks. Brain hubs related to pain-processing revealed abnormal nodal centrality in both structural and functional networks, including the precentral gyrus, orbital part of the inferior frontal gyrus, parahippocampal gyrus, anterior cingulate gyrus, thalamus, temporal pole of the middle temporal gyrus and the inferior parietal gyrus. Negative correlations were found between migraine duration and regions with abnormal centrality. Furthermore, the dysfunctional connections in patients' cortical networks formed into a connected component and three dysregulated modules were identified involving pain-related information processing and motion-processing visual networks.
Our results may reflect brain alteration dynamics resulting from migraine and suggest that long-term and high-frequency headache attacks may cause both structural and functional connectivity network reorganization. The disrupted information exchange between brain areas in migraine may be reshaped into a hierarchical modular structure progressively.
Recently, many researchers have used graph theory to study the aberrant brain structures in Alzheimer's disease (AD) and have made great progress. However, the characteristics of the cortical network in Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) are still largely unexplored. In this study, the gray matter volumes obtained from magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) for all brain regions except the cerebellum were parcellated into 90 areas using the automated anatomical labeling (AAL) template to construct cortical networks for 98 normal controls (NCs), 113 MCIs and 91 ADs. The measurements of the network properties were calculated for each of the three groups respectively. We found that all three cortical networks exhibited small-world properties and those strong interhemispheric correlations existed between bilaterally homologous regions. Among the three cortical networks, we found the greatest clustering coefficient and the longest absolute path length in AD, which might indicate that the organization of the cortical network was the least optimal in AD. The small-world measures of the MCI network exhibited intermediate values. This finding is logical given that MCI is considered to be the transitional stage between normal aging and AD. Out of all the between-group differences in the clustering coefficient and absolute path length, only the differences between the AD and normal control groups were statistically significant. Compared with the normal controls, the MCI and AD groups retained their hub regions in the frontal lobe but showed a loss of hub regions in the temporal lobe. In addition, altered interregional correlations were detected in the parahippocampus gyrus, medial temporal lobe, cingulum, fusiform, medial frontal lobe, and orbital frontal gyrus in groups with MCI and AD. Similar to previous studies of functional connectivity, we also revealed increased interregional correlations within the local brain lobes and disrupted long distance interregional correlations in groups with MCI and AD.
Understanding the progression of Alzheimer's disease (AD) is essential. We investigated networks of cortical connectivity along a continuum from normal to AD. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) has been implicated as transitional between normal aging and AD. By investigating the characteristics of cortical networks in these three stages (normal, MCI and AD), we found that all three networks exhibited small-world properties. These properties indicate efficient information transfer in the human brain. We also found that the small-world measures of the MCI network were intermediate to those of the normal controls and the patients with AD. This supports the opinion that MCI is a transitional stage between normal aging and AD. Additionally, we found altered interregional correlations in patients with MCI and AD, which may indicate that a compensatory system interacts with cerebral atrophy. The presence of compensatory mechanisms in patients with MCI and AD may enable them to use additional cognitive resources to function on a more nearly normal level. In future, we need to integrate the multi-level network features obtained with various functional and anatomical brain imaging technologies on different scales to understand the pathophysiological mechanism of MCI and AD. We propose brainnetome to represent such integration framework.
Lateralized brain regions subserve functions such as language and visuospatial processing. It has been conjectured that individuals may be left-brain dominant or right-brain dominant based on personality and cognitive style, but neuroimaging data has not provided clear evidence whether such phenotypic differences in the strength of left-dominant or right-dominant networks exist. We evaluated whether strongly lateralized connections covaried within the same individuals. Data were analyzed from publicly available resting state scans for 1011 individuals between the ages of 7 and 29. For each subject, functional lateralization was measured for each pair of 7266 regions covering the gray matter at 5-mm resolution as a difference in correlation before and after inverting images across the midsagittal plane. The difference in gray matter density between homotopic coordinates was used as a regressor to reduce the effect of structural asymmetries on functional lateralization. Nine left- and 11 right-lateralized hubs were identified as peaks in the degree map from the graph of significantly lateralized connections. The left-lateralized hubs included regions from the default mode network (medial prefrontal cortex, posterior cingulate cortex, and temporoparietal junction) and language regions (e.g., Broca Area and Wernicke Area), whereas the right-lateralized hubs included regions from the attention control network (e.g., lateral intraparietal sulcus, anterior insula, area MT, and frontal eye fields). Left- and right-lateralized hubs formed two separable networks of mutually lateralized regions. Connections involving only left- or only right-lateralized hubs showed positive correlation across subjects, but only for connections sharing a node. Lateralization of brain connections appears to be a local rather than global property of brain networks, and our data are not consistent with a whole-brain phenotype of greater “left-brained” or greater “right-brained” network strength across individuals. Small increases in lateralization with age were seen, but no differences in gender were observed.
To determine whether neuropsychological functioning differs in breast cancer survivors six months after completion of adjuvant treatment as compared to women without cancer.
Participants were 187 women diagnosed with ductal carcinoma in situ (DCIS), Stage I, or Stage II breast cancer and 187 age- and geographic- matched women without cancer. Of survivors, 97 had been treated post-surgery with chemotherapy only or chemotherapy plus radiotherapy and 90 had been treated post-surgery with radiotherapy only.
Small but statistically significant differences in cognitive functioning and cognitive impairment were observed in survivors treated with chemotherapy and their matched controls and also in survivors treated with radiotherapy only and their matched controls. No group differences were observed in cognitive complaints.
Data from the current study suggest that cognitive deficits are subtle and likely due to the general effects of cancer diagnosis and treatment rather than systemic treatment.
cognition; neuropsychological tests; adjuvant chemotherapy; adjuvant radiotherapy; breast neoplasms
Endocannabinoid receptors modulate synaptic plasticity in the brain and may therefore impact cortical connectivity not only during development but also in response to substance abuse in later life. Such alterations may not be evident in volumetric measures utilized in brain imaging, but could affect the local and global organization of brain networks. To test this hypothesis, we used a novel computational approach to estimate network measures of structural brain connectivity derived from diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and white matter tractography. Twelve adult cannabis (CB) users and 13 healthy subjects were evaluated using a graph theoretic analysis of both global and local brain network properties. Structural brain networks in both CB subjects and controls exhibited robust small-world network attributes in both groups. However, CB subjects showed significantly decreased global network efficiency and significantly increased clustering coefficients (degree to which nodes tend to cluster around individual nodes). CB subjects also exhibited altered patterns of local network organization in the cingulate region. Among all subjects, schizotypal and impulsive personality characteristics correlated with global efficiency but not with the clustering coefficient. Our data indicate that structural brain networks in CB subjects are less efficiently integrated and exhibit altered regional connectivity. These differences in network properties may reflect physiological processes secondary to substance abuse-induced synaptic plasticity, or differences in brain organization that increase vulnerability to substance use.
cannabis; delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol; deterministic tractography; diffusion tensor imaging; graph theory; network analysis
Purpose of review
Recent developments in the statistical physics of complex networks have been translated to neuroimaging data in an effort to enhance our understanding of human brain structural and functional networks. This review focuses on studies using graph theoretical measures applied to structural MRI, diffusion MRI, functional MRI, electroencephalography and magnetoencephalography data.
Complex network properties have been identified with some consistency in all modalities of neuroimaging data and over a range of spatial and time scales. Conserved properties include small-worldness, high efficiency of information transfer for low wiring cost, modularity, and the existence of network hubs. Structural and functional network metrics have been found to be heritable and to change with normal aging. Clinical studies, principally in Alzheimer’s disease and schizophrenia, have identified abnormalities of network configuration in patients. Future work will likely involve efforts to synthesize structural and functional networks in integrated models and to explore the inter-dependence of network configuration and cognitive performance.
Graph theoretical analysis of neuroimaging data is growing rapidly and could potentially provide a relatively simple but powerful quantitative framework to describe and compare whole human brain structural and functional networks under diverse experimental and clinical conditions.
network; graph; small-world; modularity; wiring cost
Although graph theory has been around since the 18th century, the field of network science is more recent and continues to gain popularity, particularly in the field of neuroimaging. The field was propelled forward when Watts and Strogatz introduced their small-world network model, which described a network that provided regional specialization with efficient global information transfer. This model is appealing to the study of brain connectivity, as the brain can be viewed as a system with various interacting regions that produce complex behaviors. In practice, graph metrics such as clustering coefficient, path length, and efficiency measures are often used to characterize system properties. Centrality metrics such as degree, betweenness, closeness, and eigenvector centrality determine critical areas within the network. Community structure is also essential for understanding network organization and topology. Network science has led to a paradigm shift in the neuroscientific community, but it should be viewed as more than a simple “tool du jour.” To fully appreciate the utility of network science, a greater understanding of how network models apply to the brain is needed. An integrated appraisal of multiple network analyses should be performed to better understand network structure rather than focusing on univariate comparisons to find significant group differences; indeed, such comparisons, popular with traditional functional magnetic resonance imaging analyses, are arguably no longer relevant with graph-theory based approaches. These methods necessitate a philosophical shift toward complexity science. In this context, when correctly applied and interpreted, network scientific methods have a chance to revolutionize the understanding of brain function.
brain networks; graph theory; human brain connectivity
During development, the healthy human brain constructs a host of large-scale, distributed, function-critical neural networks. Neurodegenerative diseases have been thought to target these systems, but this hypothesis has not been systematically tested in living humans. We used network-sensitive neuroimaging methods to show that five different neurodegenerative syndromes cause circumscribed atrophy within five distinct healthy human intrinsic functional connectivity networks. We further discovered a direct link between intrinsic connectivity and gray matter structure. Across healthy individuals, nodes within each functional network exhibited tightly correlated gray matter volumes. The findings suggest that human neural networks can be defined by synchronous baseline activity, a unified corticotrophic fate, and selective vulnerability to neurodegenerative illness. Future studies may clarify how these complex systems are assembled during development and undermined by disease.
To understand neurophysiological mechanisms underlying cognitive dysfunction in low-grade glioma (LGG) patients by evaluating the spatial structure of 'resting-state' brain networks with graph theory.
Standardized tests measuring 6 neurocognitive domains were administered in 17 LGG patients and 17 healthy controls. Magnetoencephalography (MEG) recordings were conducted during eyes-closed 'resting state'. The phase lag index (PLI) was computed in seven frequency bands to assess functional connectivity between brain areas. Spatial patterns were characterized with graph theoretical measures such as clustering coefficient (local connectivity), path length (global integration), network small world-ness (ratio of clustering coefficient/path length) and degree correlation (the extent to which connected nodes have similar degrees).
Compared to healthy controls, patients performed poorer on psychomotor functioning, attention, information processing, and working memory. Patients displayed higher short- and long-distance synchronization and clustering coefficient in the theta band, whereas a lower clustering coefficient and small world-ness were observed in the beta band. A lower degree correlation was found in the upper gamma band. LGG patients with higher clustering coefficient, longer path length, and lower degree correlations in delta and lower alpha band were characterized by poorer neurocognitive performance.
LGG patients display higher short- and long-distance synchronization within the theta band. Network analysis revealed changes (in particularly the theta, beta, and upper gamma band) suggesting disturbed network architecture. Moreover, correlations between network characteristics and neurocognitive performance were found, Widespread changes in the strength and spatial organization of brain networks may be responsible for cognitive dysfunction in glioma patients.
Aging is associated with reorganization of brain in both structure and function. In recent years, graph theoretical analysis of brain organization has drawn increasing attention, and reorganization of brain in aging has been investigated in terms of connectivity and networks in topology such as modular organization, global and local efficiency, and small-worldness. Beyond studying on abnormity in local brain regions, connectivity quantifies alternations of correlation between two regions that may be spatially far separated, and graph theoretical analysis of brain network examines the complex interactions among multiple regions. This article reviewed complex brain networks of human in normal aging or with age-related diseases such as stroke and Alzheimer’s disease after a technical introduction of brain networks and graph theoretical analysis. We further discussed the relationship between the functional and the structural brain networks of subjects in aging or with age-related diseases. Finally, we proposed several interesting topics for future research in this field.
Aging; Brain network; Connectivity; Functional; Neuroimaging; Small-world; Structural
The complex organization of connectivity in the human brain is incompletely understood. Recently, topological measures based on graph theory have provided a new approach to quantify large-scale cortical networks. These methods have been applied to anatomical connectivity data on non-human species and cortical networks have been shown to have small-world topology, associated with high local and global efficiency of information transfer. Anatomical networks derived from cortical thickness measurements have shown the same organizational properties of the healthy human brain, consistent with similar results reported in functional networks derived from resting state functional MRI and MEG data. Here we show, using anatomical networks derived from analysis of inter-regional covariation of gray matter volume in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) data on 259 healthy volunteers, that classical divisions of cortex (multimodal, unimodal and transmodal) have some distinct topological attributes. While all cortical divisions shared non-random properties of small-worldness and efficient wiring (short mean Euclidean distance between connected regions), the multimodal network had a hierarchical organization, dominated by frontal hubs with low clustering, whereas the transmodal network was assortative. Moreover, in a sample of 203 people with schizophrenia, multimodal network organization was abnormal, as indicated by reduced hierarchy, the loss of frontal and the emergence of non-frontal hubs, and increased connection distance. We propose that the topological differences between divisions of normal cortex may represent the outcome of different growth processes for multimodal and transmodal networks; and that neurodevelopmental abnormalities in schizophrenia specifically impact multimodal cortical organization.
anatomy; network; hierarchy; systems; MRI; schizophrenia; neurodevelopment
The brain is one of the most studied and highly complex systems in the biological world. While much research has concentrated on studying the brain directly, our focus is the structure of the brain itself: at its core an interconnected network of nodes (neurons). A better understanding of the structural connectivity of the brain should elucidate some of its functional properties. In this paper we analyze the connectome of the nematode Caenorhabditis elegans. Consisting of only 302 neurons, it is one of the better-understood neural networks. Using a Laplacian Matrix of the 279-neuron “giant component” of the network, we use an eigenvalue counting function to look for fractal-like self similarity. This matrix representation is also used to plot visualizations of the neural network in eigenfunction coordinates. Small-world properties of the system are examined, including average path length and clustering coefficient. We test for localization of eigenfunctions, using graph energy and spacial variance on these functions. To better understand results, all calculations are also performed on random networks, branching trees, and known fractals, as well as fractals which have been “rewired” to have small-world properties. We propose algorithms for generating Laplacian matrices of each of these graphs.
Structural brain measures are employed as endophenotypes in the search for schizophrenia susceptibility genes. We analyzed two independent structural imaging datasets with voxel-based morphometry and with source-based morphometry, a multivariate, independent components analysis, to determine the stability and heritability of regional gray matter concentration abnormalities in schizophrenia. The samples comprised 209 and 102 patients with schizophrenia and 208 and 96 healthy volunteers, respectively. The second sample additionally included non-ill siblings of participants with and without schizophrenia. A standard voxel-based analysis showed reproducible regional gray matter deficits in the affected participants compared with unrelated, unaffected controls in both datasets: patients showed significant gray matter concentration deficits in cortical frontal, temporal, and insular lobes. Source-based morphometry (SBM) was applied to the gray matter images of the entire sample to determine the effects of diagnosis on networks of covarying structures. The SBM analysis extracted 24 significant sets of covarying regions (components). Four of these components showed significantly lower gray matter concentrations in patients (p < .05). We determined the familiality of the observed SBM components based on 66 sibling pairs (25 discordant for schizophrenia). Two components, one including the medial frontal, insular, inferior frontal, and temporal lobes, and the other including the posterior occipital lobe, showed significant familiality (p < .05). We conclude that structural brain deficits in schizophrenia are replicable, and that SBM can extract unique familial and likely heritable components. SBM provides a useful data reduction technique that can provide measures that may serve as endophenotypes for schizophrenia.
Schizophrenia; brain structure; heritability; Independent Components Analysis
As one of the most widely accepted neuroanatomical models on obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), it has been hypothesized that imbalance between an excitatory direct (ventral) pathway and an inhibitory indirect (dorsal) pathway in cortico-striato-thalamic circuit underlies the emergence of OCD. Here we examine the structural network in drug-free patients with OCD in terms of graph theoretical measures for the first time. We used a measure called efficiency which quantifies how a node transfers information efficiently. To construct brain networks, cortical thickness was automatically estimated using T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging. We found that the network of the OCD patients was as efficient as that of healthy controls so that the both networks were in the small-world regime. More importantly, however, disparity between the dorsal and the ventral networks in the OCD patients was found in terms of graph theoretical measures, suggesting a positive evidence to the imbalance theory on the underlying pathophysiology of OCD.
obsessive-compulsive disorder; magnetic resonance imaging; cortical thickness; structural connectivity; graph theoretical analysis; network efficiency; small-worldness; dorsal-ventral imbalance
Adjuvant chemotherapy has been associated with mild cognitive decline among a subset of breast cancer survivors. Late cognitive effects after chemotherapy can have a deleterious impact on survivor quality of life and functional health; however, the etiology of chemotherapy-related cognitive dysfunction remains unknown.
Patients and Methods
We present a case of monozygotic twins who are discordant for breast cancer and chemotherapy exposure (ie, one twin contracted breast cancer and underwent chemotherapy, and the other had no breast cancer). As part of a larger study, each was evaluated with standardized, self-report measures of cognitive function, standard neuropsychological tests, and structural and functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI).
Results indicated small differences in neuropsychological test performance but striking contrasts in self-reported cognitive complaints and structural and functional MRI images. Specifically, the twin who underwent chemotherapy had substantially more subjective cognitive complaints, more white matter hyperintensities on MRI, and an expanded spatial extent of brain activation during working memory processing than her nonaffected twin.
This case illustrates possible physiologic mechanisms that could produce long-term cognitive complaints among chemotherapy recipients and help formulate hypotheses for further empirical study in the area of chemotherapy-associated cognitive dysfunction.
Recent applications of network theory to brain networks as well as the expanding empirical databases of brain architecture spawn an interest in novel techniques for analyzing connectivity patterns in the brain. Treating individual brain structures as nodes in a directed graph model permits the application of graph theoretical concepts to the analysis of these structures within their large-scale connectivity networks. In this paper, we explore the application of concepts from graph and game theory toward this end. Specifically, we utilize the Shapley value principle, which assigns a rank to players in a coalition based upon their individual contributions to the collective profit of that coalition, to assess the contributions of individual brain structures to the graph derived from the global connectivity network. We report Shapley values for variations of a prefrontal network, as well as for a visual cortical network, which had both been extensively investigated previously. This analysis highlights particular nodes as strong or weak contributors to global connectivity. To understand the nature of their contribution, we compare the Shapley values obtained from these networks and appropriate controls to other previously described nodal measures of structural connectivity. We find a strong correlation between Shapley values and both betweenness centrality and connection density. Moreover, a stepwise multiple linear regression analysis indicates that approximately 79% of the variance in Shapley values obtained from random networks can be explained by betweenness centrality alone. Finally, we investigate the effects of local lesions on the Shapley ratings, showing that the present networks have an immense structural resistance to degradation. We discuss our results highlighting the use of such measures for characterizing the organization and functional role of brain networks.
cerebral cortex; connectivity; game theory; graph analysis; neural network
The characterization of the topological architecture of complex networks underlying the structural and functional organization of the brain is a basic challenge in neuroscience. However, direct evidence for anatomical connectivity networks in the human brain remains scarce. Here, we utilized diffusion tensor imaging deterministic tractography to construct a macroscale anatomical network capturing the underlying common connectivity pattern of human cerebral cortex in a large sample of subjects (80 young adults) and further quantitatively analyzed its topological properties with graph theoretical approaches. The cerebral cortex was divided into 78 cortical regions, each representing a network node, and 2 cortical regions were considered connected if the probability of fiber connections exceeded a statistical criterion. The topological parameters of the established cortical network (binarized) resemble that of a “small-world” architecture characterized by an exponentially truncated power-law distribution. These characteristics imply high resilience to localized damage. Furthermore, this cortical network was characterized by major hub regions in association cortices that were connected by bridge connections following long-range white matter pathways. Our results are compatible with previous structural and functional brain networks studies and provide insight into the organizational principles of human brain anatomical networks that underlie functional states.
anatomical connectivity; betweenness centrality; DTI tractography; network; small world
Voxel-based morphometry was used to compare brain structure morphology of survivors of posterior fossa brain tumor (PFBT) with that of normal sibling controls to investigate disease- or cancer treatment–induced changes. Two different spatial normalization approaches that are available in public domain software (free-form deformation (FFD) and discrete cosine transform (DCT)) were compared for accuracy of normalization in the PFBT patients. Anatomical landmark matching demonstrated that spatial normalization was more accurate with FFD than with DCT. Voxel-based morphometry of the FFD-normalized magnetic resonance images from PFBT survivors and sibling controls detected reduced gray matter density in the thalamus and entorhinal cortex and reduced white matter density in the internal capsule, hypothalamus, corpus callosum, and cuneus of the occipital lobe in the PFBT survivors. Identification of these morphologic lesions may help localize the neural substrates of disease- or therapy-induced cognitive deficits in survivors of childhood cancer.
We investigated the large-scale functional cortical connectivity network in focal hand dystonia (FHD) patients using graph theoretic measures to assess efficiency. High-resolution EEGs were recorded in 15 FHD patients and 15 healthy volunteers at rest and during a simple sequential finger tapping task. Mutual information (MI) values of wavelet coefficients were estimated to create an association matrix between EEG electrodes, and to produce a series of adjacency matrices or graphs, G, by thresholding with network cost. Efficiency measures of small-world networks were assessed. As a result, we found that FHD patients have economical small-world properties in their brain functional networks in the alpha and beta bands. During a motor task, in the beta band network, FHD patients have decreased efficiency of small-world networks, whereas healthy volunteers increase efficiency. Reduced efficient beta band network in FHD patients during the task was consistently observed in global efficiency, cost-efficiency, and maximum cost-efficiency. This suggests that the beta band functional cortical network of FHD patients is reorganized even during a task that does not induce dystonic symptoms, representing a loss of long-range communication and abnormal functional integration in large-scale brain functional cortical networks. Moreover, negative correlations between efficiency measures and duration of disease were found, indicating that the longer duration of disease, the less efficient the beta band network in FHD patients. In regional efficiency analysis, FHD patients at rest have high regional efficiency at supplementary motor cortex (SMA) compared with healthy volunteers; however, it is diminished during the motor task, possibly reflecting abnormal inhibition in FHD patients. The present study provides the first evidence with graph theory for abnormal reconfiguration of brain functional networks in FHD during motor task.
Many real-world phenomena have been described in terms of large networks. Networks have been invaluable models for the understanding of biological systems. Since proteins carry out most biological processes, we focus on analysing protein–protein interaction (PPI) networks. Proteins interact to perform a function. Thus, PPI networks reflect the interconnected nature of biological processes and analysing their structural properties could provide insights into biological function and disease. We have already demonstrated, by using a sensitive graph theoretic method for comparing topologies of node neighbourhoods called ‘graphlet degree signatures’, that proteins with similar surroundings in PPI networks tend to perform the same functions. Here, we explore whether the involvement of genes in cancer suggests the similarity of their topological ‘signatures’ as well. By applying a series of clustering methods to proteins' topological signature similarities, we demonstrate that the obtained clusters are significantly enriched with cancer genes. We apply this methodology to identify novel cancer gene candidates, validating 80 per cent of our predictions in the literature. We also validate predictions biologically by identifying cancer-related negative regulators of melanogenesis identified in our siRNA screen. This is encouraging, since we have done this solely from PPI network topology. We provide clear evidence that PPI network structure around cancer genes is different from the structure around non-cancer genes. Understanding the underlying principles of this phenomenon is an open question, with a potential for increasing our understanding of complex diseases.
biological networks; protein interaction networks; network topology; cancer gene identification