Structural / Functional Connectivity - Literature Review


I am searching for papers discussing the issue on structural connectivity might reflecting functional connectivity (e.g. Greicius, Supekar, & Dougherty, 2009; but not necessarily vice versa; Deco, Jirsa, & McIntosh, 2011).

If somebody made a similar search in the past, I am thankful for any reading suggestions. 

Best, KV

Hi KV,

I was trying to draft a paragraph on this topic for a review (Imaging human connectomes at the macroscale. Nat Methods 10, 524-539), but we discarded this section later. Here is the sample text (NOTE: they are in very EARLY stage!!! -- as the section was dicarded very early), just FYI.



Although enormous efforts have been paid to the functional connectome and structural connectome separately, linking these two together is critical for the understanding of the brain organization and the connectome construction.


Direct comparison.


As early as 2002, Koch et al. 1 directly compared functional connectivity and anatomical connectivity (the probability that a tract can be traced between two points using DTI) by combining fMRI and DTI techniques. They found functional connectivity tended to be high when structural connectivity was high between voxels, and pairs of regions situated around the central sulcus indicated a dependence of the two connectivity measures on each other. Following studies confirmed this functional-structural imperfect coupling (functional connectivity reflects structural connectivity, but could exist where there is little or no structural connectivity) either at the level of several brain regions 2,3, level of whole brain pacellations 4,5, or voxel-wise level 6 (for a review, see 7).


Fusion of structural and functional connectome.


Calamante et al. 8 proposed an approach for the fusion of structural and functional data into a single quantitative image - Track-weighted functional connectivity (TW-FC). The TW-FC at a given voxel reflects the mean total FC value associated with the white matter fiber tracks traversing that voxel. They found that the cingulum bundles show the strongest TW-FC values in the PCC seeded-based analysis, due to their major role in the connection between medial frontal cortex and precuneus/posterior cingulate cortex, thus demonstrating the ability of TW-FC in highlighting the white matter connections involved in a given FC network.



Guide each other: functional-assisted structural connectome.

Zhu et al. 9 proposed functional-assisted fiber tracking strategy, where they first define the seed regions based on independent component analysis of the resting-state fMRI dataset and then use these seed regions to perform fiber tracking. Compared to single-seed based technique for structural connectivity, this strategy improved the rate of successful fiber tracking pattern as compared to functional connectivity patter across subjects.


Functional-structural coupling in development and disease.


Superkar et al., 2010: Development of functional and structural connectivity within the default mode network in young children


Zhang et al., 2011: Altered functional-structural coupling of large-scale brain networks in idiopathic generalized epilepsy


Hanna et al., 2007: Disruption of large-scale brain systems in advanced aging


Lowe et al., 2008: Resting state sensorimotor functional connectivity in multiple sclerosis inversely correlates with transcallosal motor pathway transverse diffusivity



1          Koch, M. A., Norris, D. G. & Hund-Georgiadis, M. An investigation of functional and anatomical connectivity using magnetic resonance imaging. Neuroimage 16, 241-250, doi:10.1006/nimg.2001.1052 (2002).

2          Greicius, M. D., Supekar, K., Menon, V. & Dougherty, R. F. Resting-State Functional Connectivity Reflects Structural Connectivity in the Default Mode Network. Cereb Cortex 19, 72-78 (2009).

3          van den Heuvel, M., Mandl, R., Luigjes, J. & Hulshoff Pol, H. Microstructural organization of the cingulum tract and the level of default mode functional connectivity. J Neurosci 28, 10844-10851, doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2964-08.2008 (2008).

4          Hagmann, P. et al. Mapping the Structural Core of Human Cerebral Cortex. PLoS Biology 6, e159 (2008).

5          Honey, C. J. et al. Predicting human resting-state functional connectivity from structural connectivity. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 106, 2035-2040, doi:0811168106 [pii]

10.1073/pnas.0811168106 (2009).

6          Skudlarski, P. et al. Measuring brain connectivity: diffusion tensor imaging validates resting state temporal correlations. Neuroimage 43, 554-561, doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2008.07.063 (2008).

7          Damoiseaux, J. S. & Greicius, M. D. Greater than the sum of its parts: a review of studies combining structural connectivity and resting-state functional connectivity. Brain Struct Funct 213, 525-533, doi:10.1007/s00429-009-0208-6 (2009).

8          Calamante, F. et al. Track-weighted functional connectivity (TW-FC): A tool for characterizing the structural-functional connections in the brain. Neuroimage 70C, 199-210, doi:10.1016/j.neuroimage.2012.12.054 (2013).

9          Zhu, D. C. & Majumdar, S. Integration of Resting-State FMRI and Diffusion-Weighted MRI Connectivity Analyses of the Human Brain: Limitations and Improvement. J Neuroimaging, doi:10.1111/j.1552-6569.2012.00768.x (2012).