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Open Access Research article

Predicting the connectivity of primate cortical networks from topological and spatial node properties

Luciano da F Costa1, Marcus Kaiser23 and Claus C Hilgetag45*

Author Affiliations

1 Instituto de Física de São Carlos, Universidade de São Paulo, Caixa Postal 369, São Carlos, SP, 13560-970, Brazil

2 School of Computing Science, Newcastle University, Claremont Tower, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE1 7RU, UK

3 Institute of Neuroscience, Henry Wellcome Building for Neuroecology, Newcastle University, Framlington Place, Newcastle upon Tyne, NE2 4HH, UK

4 Jacobs University Bremen, School of Engineering and Science, Campus Ring 6, 28759 Bremen, Germany

5 Boston University, Sargent College, Department of Health Sciences, 635 Commonwealth Ave, Boston, MA 02215, USA

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BMC Systems Biology 2007, 1:16  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-1-16

Published: 8 March 2007

Abstract

Background

The organization of the connectivity between mammalian cortical areas has become a major subject of study, because of its important role in scaffolding the macroscopic aspects of animal behavior and intelligence. In this study we present a computational reconstruction approach to the problem of network organization, by considering the topological and spatial features of each area in the primate cerebral cortex as subsidy for the reconstruction of the global cortical network connectivity. Starting with all areas being disconnected, pairs of areas with similar sets of features are linked together, in an attempt to recover the original network structure.

Results

Inferring primate cortical connectivity from the properties of the nodes, remarkably good reconstructions of the global network organization could be obtained, with the topological features allowing slightly superior accuracy to the spatial ones. Analogous reconstruction attempts for the C. elegans neuronal network resulted in substantially poorer recovery, indicating that cortical area interconnections are relatively stronger related to the considered topological and spatial properties than neuronal projections in the nematode.

Conclusion

The close relationship between area-based features and global connectivity may hint on developmental rules and constraints for cortical networks. Particularly, differences between the predictions from topological and spatial properties, together with the poorer recovery resulting from spatial properties, indicate that the organization of cortical networks is not entirely determined by spatial constraints.