Functional hypergraph uncovers novel covariant structures over neurodevelopment

Hum Brain Mapp. 2017 Aug;38(8):3823-3835. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23631. Epub 2017 May 11.


Brain development during adolescence is marked by substantial changes in brain structure and function, leading to a stable network topology in adulthood. However, most prior work has examined the data through the lens of brain areas connected to one another in large-scale functional networks. Here, we apply a recently developed hypergraph approach that treats network connections (edges) rather than brain regions as the unit of interest, allowing us to describe functional network topology from a fundamentally different perspective. Capitalizing on a sample of 780 youth imaged as part of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopmental Cohort, this hypergraph representation of resting-state functional MRI data reveals three distinct classes of subnetworks (hyperedges): clusters, bridges, and stars, which respectively represent homogeneously connected, bipartite, and focal architectures. Cluster hyperedges show a strong resemblance to previously-described functional modules of the brain including somatomotor, visual, default mode, and salience systems. In contrast, star hyperedges represent highly localized subnetworks centered on a small set of regions, and are distributed across the entire cortex. Finally, bridge hyperedges link clusters and stars in a core-periphery organization. Notably, developmental changes within hyperedges are ordered in a similar core-periphery fashion, with the greatest developmental effects occurring in networked hyperedges within the functional core. Taken together, these results reveal a novel decomposition of the network organization of human brain, and further provide a new perspective on the role of local structures that emerge across neurodevelopment. Hum Brain Mapp 38:3823-3835, 2017. © 2017 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.

Keywords: brain network; core-periphery; functional connectivity; network modules.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cerebrovascular Circulation
  • Child
  • Cohort Studies
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging* / methods
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Oxygen / blood
  • Rest
  • Young Adult


  • Oxygen