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Dynamic community detection reveals transient reorganization of functional brain networks across a female menstrual cycle
Network Neuroscience (2021) 5 (1): 125–144.
Published: 01 February 2021
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Sex steroid hormones have been shown to alter regional brain activity, but the extent to which they modulate connectivity within and between large-scale functional brain networks over time has yet to be characterized. Here, we applied dynamic community detection techniques to data from a highly sampled female with 30 consecutive days of brain imaging and venipuncture measurements to characterize changes in resting-state community structure across the menstrual cycle. Four stable functional communities were identified, consisting of nodes from visual, default mode, frontal control, and somatomotor networks. Limbic, subcortical, and attention networks exhibited higher than expected levels of nodal flexibility, a hallmark of between-network integration and transient functional reorganization. The most striking reorganization occurred in a default mode subnetwork localized to regions of the prefrontal cortex, coincident with peaks in serum levels of estradiol, luteinizing hormone, and follicle stimulating hormone. Nodes from these regions exhibited strong intranetwork increases in functional connectivity, leading to a split in the stable default mode core community and the transient formation of a new functional community. Probing the spatiotemporal basis of human brain–hormone interactions with dynamic community detection suggests that hormonal changes during the menstrual cycle result in temporary, localized patterns of brain network reorganization. Author Summary Sex steroid hormones influence the central nervous system across multiple spatiotemporal scales. Estrogen and progesterone concentrations rise and fall throughout the menstrual cycle, but it remains poorly understood whether day-to-day fluctuations in hormones shape human brain dynamics. Here, we assessed the structure and stability of resting-state brain network connectivity in concordance with serum hormone levels from a female who underwent fMRI and venipuncture for 30 consecutive days. Our results reveal that while network structure is largely stable over the course of a menstrual cycle, temporary reorganization of several large-scale functional brain networks occurs during the ovulatory window. In particular, a default mode subnetwork exhibits increased connectivity with itself and with nodes belonging to the temporoparietal and limbic networks, providing novel perspective into brain-hormone interactions.
Includes: Supplementary data
Network Neuroscience (2018) 2 (3): 362–380.
Published: 01 September 2018
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To facilitate the comparison of white matter morphologic connectivity across target populations, it is invaluable to map the data to a standardized neuroanatomical space. Here, we evaluated direct streamline normalization (DSN), where the warping was applied directly to the streamlines, with two publically available approaches that spatially normalize the diffusion data and then reconstruct the streamlines. Prior work has shown that streamlines generated after normalization from reoriented diffusion data do not reliably match the streamlines generated in native space. To test the impact of these different normalization methods on quantitative tractography measures, we compared the reproducibility of the resulting normalized connectivity matrices and network metrics with those originally obtained in native space. The two methods that reconstruct streamlines after normalization led to significant differences in network metrics with large to huge standardized effect sizes, reflecting a dramatic alteration of the same subject’s native connectivity. In contrast, after normalizing with DSN we found no significant difference in network metrics compared with native space with only very small-to-small standardized effect sizes. DSN readily outperformed the other methods at preserving native space connectivity and introduced novel opportunities to define connectome networks without relying on gray matter parcellations. Author Summary Direct streamline normalization (DSN) directly warps the streamlines into any template space by using the transformations output from Advanced Normalization Tools (ANTs). DSN overcomes the limitations of diffusion weighted images (DWI) spatial normalization. It allows DWIs to be acquired with any desired sampling scheme. Fiber orientation distributions (FODs) or orientation distribution functions (ODFs) can also be reconstructed using any desired method and streamlines generated using any algorithm. Most importantly, it avoids the problem of generating tracts from FODs or ODFs that have become distorted because of spatial normalization. Our results show that DSN has minimal influence on tractography measures such as tract count and structure and does not significantly alter structural networks with only very small to small effect sizes. We have developed a framework in Python that works with most diffusion software platforms. It is available at http://github.com/clintg6/DSN .
Network Neuroscience (2017) 1 (4): 446–467.
Published: 01 December 2017
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Author Summary Diffusion tractography has been proven to be a promising noninvasive technique to study the network properties of the human brain. However, how various tractography and network construction parameters affect network properties has not been studied using a large cohort of high-quality data. We utilize data provided by the Human Connectome Project to characterize the changes to network properties induced by varying the brain parcellation atlas scales, the number of reconstructed tractography tracks, and the degree of grey matter dilation with graph metrics. We illustrate the importance of increasing the reconstructed track sampling rate when higher atlas scales are used. In addition to changing the raw values of graph metrics, we find that the ranks of individuals relative to the population metric distributions are altered. We further discuss how the dependency of graph metric ranks can affect the brain characteristics derived in group comparison studies using network neuroscience techniques. Abstract Network neuroscience leverages diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and tractography to quantify structural connectivity of the human brain. However, scientists and practitioners lack a clear understanding of the effects of varying tractography parameters on the constructed structural networks. With diffusion images from the Human Connectome Project (HCP), we characterize how structural networks are impacted by the spatial resolution of brain atlases, total number of tractography streamlines, and grey matter dilation with various graph metrics. We demonstrate how injudicious combinations of highly refined brain parcellations and low numbers of streamlines may inadvertently lead to disconnected network models with isolated nodes. Furthermore, we provide solutions to significantly reduce the likelihood of generating disconnected networks. In addition, for different tractography parameters, we investigate the distributions of values taken by various graph metrics across the population of HCP subjects. Analyzing the ranks of individual subjects within the graph metric distributions, we find that the ranks of individuals are affected differently by atlas scale changes. Our work serves as a guideline for researchers to optimize the selection of tractography parameters and illustrates how biological characteristics of the brain derived in network neuroscience studies can be affected by the choice of atlas parcellation schemes.