Robustness of connectome harmonics to local gray matter and long-range white matter connectivity changes: Sensitivity analysis of Connectome Harmonics

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Recently, it has been proposed that the harmonic patterns emerging from the brain's structural connectivity underlie the resting state networks of the human brain. These harmonic patterns, termed connectome harmonics, are estimated as the Laplace eigenfunctions of the combined gray and white matters connectivity matrices and yield a connectome-specific extension of the well-known Fourier basis. However, it remains unclear how topological properties of the combined connectomes constrain the precise shape of the connectome harmonics and their relationships to the resting state networks. Here, we systematically study how alterations of the local and long-range connectivity matrices affect the spatial patterns of connectome harmonics. Specifically, the proportion of local gray matter homogeneous connectivity versus long-range white-matter heterogeneous connectivity is varied by means of weight-based matrix thresholding, distance-based matrix trimming, and several types of matrix randomizations. We demonstrate that the proportion of local gray matter connections plays a crucial role for the emergence of wide-spread, functionally meaningful, and originally published connectome harmonic patterns. This finding is robust for several different cortical surface templates, mesh resolutions, or widths of the local diffusion kernel. Finally, using the connectome harmonic framework, we also provide a proof-of-concept for how targeted structural changes such as the atrophy of inter-hemispheric callosal fibers and gray matter alterations may predict functional deficits associated with neurodegenerative conditions.


01 Jan 2021