Structure–function relationships during segregated and integrated network states of human brain functional connectivity

Makoto Fukushima, Richard F. Betzel, Ye He, Martijn P. van den Heuvel, Xi-Nian Zuo, Olaf Sporns

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


Structural white matter connections are thought to facilitate integration of neural information across functionally segregated systems. Recent studies have demonstrated that changes in the balance between segregation and integration in brain networks can be tracked by time-resolved functional connectivity derived from resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (rs-fMRI) data and that fluctuations between segregated and integrated network states are related to human behavior. However, how these network states relate to structural connectivity is largely unknown. To obtain a better understanding of structural substrates for these network states, we investigated how the relationship between structural connectivity, derived from diffusion tractography, and functional connectivity, as measured by rs-fMRI, changes with fluctuations between segregated and integrated states in the human brain. We found that the similarity of edge weights between structural and functional connectivity was greater in the integrated state, especially at edges connecting the default mode and the dorsal attention networks. We also demonstrated that the similarity of network partitions, evaluated between structural and functional connectivity, increased and the density of direct structural connections within modules in functional networks was elevated during the integrated state. These results suggest that, when functional connectivity exhibited an integrated network topology, structural connectivity and functional connectivity were more closely linked to each other and direct structural connections mediated a larger proportion of neural communication within functional modules. Our findings point out the possibility of significant contributions of structural connections to integrative neural processes underlying human behavior.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1091-1106
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2018
Externally publishedYes


  • Connectomics
  • Networks
  • Resting state
  • Segregation and integration
  • Structural connectivity
  • Time-resolved functional connectivity

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