Royal Society Publishing

Computational analysis of functional connectivity between areas of primate cerebral cortex

Klaas E. Stephan , Claus–C. Hilgetag , Gully A. P. C. Burns , Marc A. O'Neill , Malcolm P. Young , Rolf Kotter

Abstract

Recent analyses of association fibre networks in the primate cerebral cortex have revealed a small number of densely intra–connected and hierarchically organized structural systems. Corresponding analyses of data on functional connectivity are required to establish the significance of these structural systems. W e therefore built up a relational database by systematically collating published data on the spread of activity after strychnine–induced disinhibition in the macaque cerebral cortex in vivo . After mapping these data to two different parcellation schemes, we used three independent methods of analysis which demonstrate that the cortical network of functional interactions is not homogeneous, but shows a clear segregation into functional assemblies of mutually interacting areas. The assemblies suggest a principal division of the cortex into visual, somatomotor and orbito–temporo–insular systems, while motor and somatosensory areas are inseparably interrelated. These results are largely compatible with corresponding analyses of structural data of mammalian cerebral cortex, and deliver the first functional evidence for ‘small–world’ architecture of primate cerebral cortex.

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