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Focused Review ARTICLE

Front. Neurosci., 21 June 2011 | http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2011.00083

Exploring brain function from anatomical connectivity

  • 1 Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Berlin, Germany
  • 2 Department of Physics, Humboldt University, Berlin, Germany
  • 3 Department of Physics, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China
  • 4 Center for Nonlinear Studies, Hong Kong Baptist University, Hong Kong, China
  • 5 Transdisciplinary Concepts and Methods, Potsdam Institute for Climate Impact Research, Potsdam, Germany
  • 6 Institute for Complex Systems and Mathematical Biology, University of Aberdeen, Aberdeen, UK

The intrinsic relationship between the architecture of the brain and the range of sensory and behavioral phenomena it produces is a relevant question in neuroscience. Here, we review recent knowledge gained on the architecture of the anatomical connectivity by means of complex network analysis. It has been found that cortico-cortical networks display a few prominent characteristics: (i) modular organization, (ii) abundant alternative processing paths, and (iii) the presence of highly connected hubs. Additionally, we present a novel classification of cortical areas of the cat according to the role they play in multisensory connectivity. All these properties represent an ideal anatomical substrate supporting rich dynamical behaviors, facilitating the capacity of the brain to process sensory information of different modalities segregated and to integrate them toward a comprehensive perception of the real world. The results here exposed are mainly based on anatomical data of cats’ brain, but further observations suggest that, from worms to humans, the nervous system of all animals might share these fundamental principles of organization.

Keywords: hierarchical networks, cortical networks, brain connectivity, integration, segregation, connectome, cortical hubs

Citation: Zamora-López G, Zhou C and Kurths J (2011) Exploring brain function from anatomical connectivity. Front. Neurosci. 5:83. doi: 10.3389/fnins.2011.00083

Received: 22 November 2010; Accepted: 09 June 2011;
Published online: 21 June 2011.

Edited by:

Claus Hilgetag, Jacobs University Bremen, Germany

Reviewed by:

Marcus Kaiser, Seoul National University, South Korea
Luciano da F. Costa, Institute of Physics of São Carlos, Brazil

Copyright: © 2011 Zamora-López, Zhou and Kurths. This is an open-access article subject to a non-exclusive license between the authors and Frontiers Media SA, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in other forums, provided the original authors and source are credited and other Frontiers conditions are complied with.

*Correspondence: Gorka Zamora-López, Humboldt University, Bernstein Center for Computational Neuroscience, Philippstr. 13, Haus 6, Berlin, D-10115, Berlin, Germany, gorka.zamora@ymail.com