Recent studies using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) have proposed that the brain's white matter is organized as a rich club, whereby the most highly connected regions of the brain are also highly connected to each other. Here we use both functional and diffusion-weighted MRI in the human brain to investigate whether the rich club phenomena is present with functional connectivity, and how this organization relates to the structural phenomena. We also examine whether rich club regions serve to integrate information between distinct brain systems, and conclude with a brief investigation of the developmental trajectory of rich-club phenomena. In agreement with prior work, both adults and children showed robust structural rich club organization, comprising regions of the superior medial frontal/dACC, medial parietal/PCC, insula, and inferior temporal cortex. We also show that these regions were highly integrated across the brain's major networks. Functional brain networks were found to have rich club phenomena in a similar spatial layout, but a high level of segregation between systems. While no significant differences between adults and children were found structurally, adults showed significantly greater functional rich club organization. This difference appeared to be driven by a specific set of connections between superior parietal, insula, and supramarginal cortex. In sum, this work highlights the existence of both a structural and functional rich club in adult and child populations with some functional changes over development. It also offers a potential target in examining atypical network organization in common developmental brain disorders, such as ADHD and Autism.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)