The nature and origin of fMRI resting state fluctuations and connectivity are still not fully known. More detailed knowledge on the relationship between resting state patterns and brain function may help to elucidate this matter. We therefore performed an in depth study of how resting state fluctuations map to the well known architecture of the visual system. We investigated resting state connectivity at both a fine and large scale within and across visual areas V1, V2 and V3 in ten human subjects using a 7Tesla scanner. We found evidence for several coexisting and overlapping connectivity structures at different spatial scales. At the fine-scale level we found enhanced connectivity between the same topographic locations in the fieldmaps of V1, V2 and V3, enhanced connectivity to the contralateral functional homologue, and to a lesser extent enhanced connectivity between iso-eccentric locations within the same visual area. However, by far the largest proportion of the resting state fluctuations occurred within large-scale bilateral networks. These large-scale networks mapped to some extent onto the architecture of the visual system and could thereby obscure fine-scale connectivity. In fact, most of the fine-scale connectivity only became apparent after the large-scale network fluctuations were filtered from the timeseries. We conclude that fMRI resting state fluctuations in the visual cortex may in fact be a composite signal of different overlapping sources. Isolating the different sources could enhance correlations between BOLD and electrophysiological correlates of resting state activity.
Keywords: Resting state; Visual cortex; fMRI.
© 2013 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.