Interrelating anatomical, effective, and functional brain connectivity using propagators and neural field theory

Phys Rev E Stat Nonlin Soft Matter Phys. 2012 Jan;85(1 Pt 1):011912. doi: 10.1103/PhysRevE.85.011912. Epub 2012 Jan 17.


It is shown how to compute effective and functional connection matrices (eCMs and fCMs) from anatomical CMs (aCMs) and corresponding strength-of-connection matrices (sCMs) using propagator methods in which neural interactions play the role of scatterings. This analysis demonstrates how network effects dress the bare propagators (the sCMs) to yield effective propagators (the eCMs) that can be used to compute the covariances customarily used to define fCMs. The results incorporate excitatory and inhibitory connections, multiple structures and populations, asymmetries, time delays, and measurement effects. They can also be postprocessed in the same manner as experimental measurements for direct comparison with data and thereby give insights into the role of coarse-graining, thresholding, and other effects in determining the structure of CMs. The spatiotemporal results show how to generalize CMs to include time delays and how natural network modes give rise to long-range coherence at resonant frequencies. The results are demonstrated using tractable analytic cases via neural field theory of cortical and corticothalamic systems. These also demonstrate close connections between the structure of CMs and proximity to critical points of the system, highlight the importance of indirect links between brain regions and raise the possibility of imaging specific levels of indirect connectivity. Aside from the results presented explicitly here, the expression of the connections among aCMs, sCMs, eCMs, and fCMs in terms of propagators opens the way for propagator theory to be further applied to analysis of connectivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Computer Simulation
  • Humans
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / physiology*