Spontaneous cortical activity transiently organises into frequency specific phase-coupling networks

Nat Commun. 2018 Jul 30;9(1):2987. doi: 10.1038/s41467-018-05316-z.


Frequency-specific oscillations and phase-coupling of neuronal populations are essential mechanisms for the coordination of activity between brain areas during cognitive tasks. Therefore, the ongoing activity ascribed to the different functional brain networks should also be able to reorganise and coordinate via similar mechanisms. We develop a novel method for identifying large-scale phase-coupled network dynamics and show that resting networks in magnetoencephalography are well characterised by visits to short-lived transient brain states, with spatially distinct patterns of oscillatory power and coherence in specific frequency bands. Brain states are identified for sensory, motor networks and higher-order cognitive networks. The cognitive networks include a posterior alpha (8-12 Hz) and an anterior delta/theta range (1-7 Hz) network, both exhibiting high power and coherence in areas that correspond to posterior and anterior subdivisions of the default mode network. Our results show that large-scale cortical phase-coupling networks have characteristic signatures in very specific frequency bands, possibly reflecting functional specialisation at different intrinsic timescales.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Cognition
  • Female
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetoencephalography*
  • Male
  • Markov Chains
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Neurological
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Normal Distribution
  • Oscillometry
  • Rest
  • Time Factors
  • Young Adult