Experimental functional magnetic resonance imaging studies have shown that spontaneous brain activity, i.e., in the absence of any external input, exhibit complex spatial and temporal patterns of co-activity between segregated brain regions. These so-called large-scale resting-state functional connectivity networks represent dynamically organized neural assemblies interacting with each other in a complex way. It has been suggested that looking at the dynamical properties of complex patterns of brain functional co-activity may reveal neural mechanisms underlying the dynamic changes in functional interactions. Here, we examine how global network dynamics is shaped by different network configurations, derived from realistic brain functional interactions. We focus on two main dynamics measures: synchrony and variations in synchrony. Neural activity and the inferred hemodynamic response of the network nodes are simulated using a system of 90 FitzHugh-Nagumo neural models subject to system noise and time-delayed interactions. These models are embedded into the topology of the complex brain functional interactions, whose architecture is additionally reduced to its main structural pathways. In the simulated functional networks, patterns of correlated regional activity clearly arise from dynamical properties that maximize synchrony and variations in synchrony. Our results on the fast changes of the level of the network synchrony also show how flexible changes in the large-scale network dynamics could be.
Bibliographical noteThis work was supported by BMBF (Grant No. 01Q1001B) in the framework of BCCN Berlin (Project B7). We thank John-Dylan Haynes and his group for helpful discussions concerning the fMRI data analysis and Yasser Iturria-Medina for sharing the DTI data used in the study.
- Brain functional interactions
- Neural activity