Three Distinct Sets of Connector Hubs Integrate Human Brain Function

Cell Rep. 2018 Aug 14;24(7):1687-1695.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.celrep.2018.07.050.


Control over behavior is enabled by the brain's control networks, which interact with lower-level sensory motor and default networks to regulate their functions. Such interactions are facilitated by specialized "connector hub" regions that interconnect discrete networks. Previous work has treated hubs as a single category of brain regions, although their unitary nature is dubious when examined in individual brains. Here we investigated the nature of hubs by using fMRI to characterize individual-specific hub regions in two independent datasets. We identified three separable sets of connector hubs that integrate information between specific brain networks. These three hub categories occupy different positions within the brain's network structure; they affect networks differently when artificially lesioned, and they are differentially engaged during cognitive and motor task performance. This work suggests a model of brain organization in which different connector hubs integrate control functions and enable top-down control of separate processing streams.

Keywords: brain networks; connector hubs; fMRI; functional connectivity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Cognition / physiology*
  • Connectome / methods
  • Datasets as Topic
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*