Contribution of cortical layers to human dynamic functional connectivity

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Transitory states of the brain, sometimes linked to particular mental disorders, can be identified by conducting a dynamic analysis of connectivity in functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data. Here, we investigated whether the connectivity between cortical laminae (in contrast to between cortical areas ), can vary during the course of a resting-state scan and whether this could impact the identification of brain states in the healthy brain.

We performed a sliding-window connectivity analysis of high-resolution fMRI data and found that the differential participation of the cortical layers in the overall cortical connectivity constitutes a more dynamic feature of the brain compared to region-to-region connectivity, with two main states (superficial vs. deep-laminae connectivity) fluctuating over time. Laminar connectivity restricted to the default mode network appeared relatively stable (superficial connectivity preferred), while the central executive and salience networks showed a fluctuating laminar preference. We anticipate that the dynamic analysis of connectivity focused on the different depths of the cerebral cortex could play an important role in characterizing healthy brain states as well as in identifying novel targets of psychiatric diseases.

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