Functional connectivity of distant cortical regions: role of remote synchronization and symmetry in interactions

Vesna Vuksanovic, Philipp Hövel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Functional MRI (fMRI) of ongoing brain activity at rest i.e. without any overt-directed behavior has revealed patterns of coherent activity, so called resting-state functional networks. The dynamical organization of nodes into these functional networks is closely related to the underlying structural connections. However, functional correlations have also been observed between cortical regions without apparent neural links, and mechanisms generating functional connectivity between distant cortical regions are largely unknown. It has been suggested that indirect connections and collective effects governed by the network properties of the cortex play a significant role. We use numerical simulations to investigate these mechanisms with reference to remote synchronization and network symmetry. Neural activity and the inferred hemodynamic response of the network nodes are modeled as sets of self-sustained oscillators, which are embedded in topologies of complex functional brain interactions. The coupling topology is based on connectivity maps derived from fMRI and DTI experiments. Consequently, our network model includes important information on whether direct or indirect neural connections exist between functionally associated regions. In the simulated functional networks, remote synchrony between pairs of nodes clearly arises from symmetry in the interactions, which are quantified by the number of shared neighbors. A larger joint neighborhood positively correlates with a higher level of synchrony. Therefore, our results indicate that a large overlapping neighborhood in complex networks of brain interactions gives rise to functional similarity between distant cortical regions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-8
Number of pages8
Early online date24 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 15 Aug 2014

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2014 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

This 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 processing and Yasser Iturria-Medina for sharing the DTI data used in the study.


  • Algorithms
  • Cerebral Cortex
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways
  • Oxygen
  • Computational model
  • Remote synchronization
  • Functional connectivity
  • Resting-state networks


Dive into the research topics of 'Functional connectivity of distant cortical regions: role of remote synchronization and symmetry in interactions'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this