Revealing modular architecture of human brain structural networks by using cortical thickness from MRI

Cereb Cortex. 2008 Oct;18(10):2374-81. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhn003. Epub 2008 Feb 10.


Modularity, presumably shaped by evolutionary constraints, underlies the functionality of most complex networks ranged from social to biological networks. However, it remains largely unknown in human cortical networks. In a previous study, we demonstrated a network of correlations of cortical thickness among specific cortical areas and speculated that these correlations reflected an underlying structural connectivity among those brain regions. Here, we further investigated the intrinsic modular architecture of the human brain network derived from cortical thickness measurement. Modules were defined as groups of cortical regions that are connected morphologically to achieve the maximum network modularity. We show that the human cortical network is organized into 6 topological modules that closely overlap known functional domains such as auditory/language, strategic/executive, sensorimotor, visual, and mnemonic processing. The identified structure-based modular architecture may provide new insights into the functionality of cortical regions and connections between structural brain modules. This study provides the first report of modular architecture of the structural network in the human brain using cortical thickness measurements.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Algorithms
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / physiology
  • Young Adult