Probabilistic clustering of the human connectome identifies communities and hubs
Number of pages
SourcePLoS One, 10, 1, (2015), article e0117179
Article / Letter to editor
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Donders Centre for Cognitive Neuroimaging
SW OZ DCC AI
SW OZ DCC SMN
SubjectCognitive artificial intelligence; DI-BCB_DCC_Theme 4: Brain Networks and Neuronal Communication; Data Science
A fundamental assumption in neuroscience is that brain function is constrained by its structural properties. This motivates the idea that the brain can be parcellated into functionally coherent regions based on anatomical connectivity patterns that capture how different areas are interconnected. Several studies have successfully implemented this idea in humans using diffusion weighted MRI, allowing parcellation to be conducted in vivo. Two distinct approaches to connectivity-based parcellation can be identified. The first uses the connection profiles of brain regions as a feature vector, and groups brain regions with similar connection profiles together. Alternatively, one may adopt a network perspective that aims to identify clusters of brain regions that show dense within-cluster and sparse between-cluster connectivity. In this paper, we introduce a probabilistic model for connectivity-based parcellation that unifies both approaches. Using the model we are able to obtain a parcellation of the human brain whose clusters may adhere to either interpretation. We find that parts of the connectome consistently cluster as densely connected components, while other parts consistently result in clusters with similar connections. Interestingly, the densely connected components consist predominantly of major cortical areas, while the clusters with similar connection profiles consist of regions that have previously been identified as the ‘rich club’; regions known for their integrative role in connectivity. Furthermore, the probabilistic model allows quantification of the uncertainty in cluster assignments. We show that, while most clusters are clearly delineated, some regions are more difficult to assign. These results indicate that care should be taken when interpreting connectivity-based parcellations obtained using alternative deterministic procedures.
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