Mapping the human brain's cortical-subcortical functional network organization

Neuroimage. 2019 Jan 15:185:35-57. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2018.10.006. Epub 2018 Oct 3.


Understanding complex systems such as the human brain requires characterization of the system's architecture across multiple levels of organization - from neurons, to local circuits, to brain regions, and ultimately large-scale brain networks. Here we focus on characterizing the human brain's large-scale network organization, as it provides an overall framework for the organization of all other levels. We developed a highly principled approach to identify cortical network communities at the level of functional systems, calibrating our community detection algorithm using extremely well-established sensory and motor systems as guides. Building on previous network partitions, we replicated and expanded upon well-known and recently-identified networks, including several higher-order cognitive networks such as a left-lateralized language network. We expanded these cortical networks to subcortex, revealing 358 highly-organized subcortical parcels that take part in forming whole-brain functional networks. Notably, the identified subcortical parcels are similar in number to a recent estimate of the number of cortical parcels (360). This whole-brain network atlas - released as an open resource for the neuroscience community - places all brain structures across both cortex and subcortex into a single large-scale functional framework, with the potential to facilitate a variety of studies investigating large-scale functional networks in health and disease.

Keywords: Brain connectivity; Brain networks; Functional MRI; Resting-state functional connectivity.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*