The structural connectome constrains fast brain dynamics

Elife. 2021 Jul 9;10:e67400. doi: 10.7554/eLife.67400.


Brain activity during rest displays complex, rapidly evolving patterns in space and time. Structural connections comprising the human connectome are hypothesized to impose constraints on the dynamics of this activity. Here, we use magnetoencephalography (MEG) to quantify the extent to which fast neural dynamics in the human brain are constrained by structural connections inferred from diffusion MRI tractography. We characterize the spatio-temporal unfolding of whole-brain activity at the millisecond scale from source-reconstructed MEG data, estimating the probability that any two brain regions will significantly deviate from baseline activity in consecutive time epochs. We find that the structural connectome relates to, and likely affects, the rapid spreading of neuronal avalanches, evidenced by a significant association between these transition probabilities and structural connectivity strengths (r = 0.37, p<0.0001). This finding opens new avenues to study the relationship between brain structure and neural dynamics.

Keywords: brain dynamics; brain networks; computational biology; human; magnetoencephalography; systems biology; systems neuroscience.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / physiology*
  • Connectome / methods*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Magnetoencephalography
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons
  • Systems Biology

Grant support

No external funding was received for this work.