Research ArticleNEUROSCIENCE

Network structure of the mouse brain connectome with voxel resolution

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Science Advances  18 Dec 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 51, eabb7187
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abb7187

Abstract

Fine-grained descriptions of brain connectivity are required to understand how neural information is processed and relayed across spatial scales. Previous investigations of the mouse brain connectome have used discrete anatomical parcellations, limiting spatial resolution and potentially concealing network attributes critical to connectome organization. Here, we provide a voxel-level description of the network and hierarchical structure of the directed mouse connectome, unconstrained by regional partitioning. We report a number of previously unappreciated organizational principles in the mammalian brain, including a directional segregation of hub regions into neural sink and sources, and a strategic wiring of neuromodulatory nuclei as connector hubs and critical orchestrators of network communication. We also find that the mouse cortical connectome is hierarchically organized along two superimposed cortical gradients reflecting unimodal-transmodal functional processing and a modality-specific sensorimotor axis, recapitulating a phylogenetically conserved feature of higher mammals. These findings advance our understanding of the foundational wiring principles of the mammalian connectome.

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