Emerging neuroimaging studies emphasize the dynamic organization of spontaneous brain activity in both human and non-human primates, even under anesthesia. In a recent study, we were able to characterize the heterogeneous architecture of intrinsic functional flexibility in the awake, resting human brain using time-resolved analysis and a probabilistic model. However, it is unknown whether this organizational principle is preserved in the anesthetized monkey brain, and how anesthesia affects dynamic and static measurements of spontaneous brain activity. To investigate these issues, we collected resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) datasets from 178 awake humans and 11 anesthetized monkeys (all healthy). Our recently established method, a complexity measurement (i.e., Shannon entropy) of dynamic functional connectivity patterns of each brain region, was used to map the intrinsic functional flexibility across the cerebral cortex. To further explore the potential effects of anesthesia, we performed time series analysis and correlation analysis between dynamic and static measurements within awake human and anesthetized monkey brains, respectively. We observed a heterogeneous profile of intrinsic functional flexibility in the anesthetized monkey brain, which showed some similarities to that of awake humans (r = 0.30, p = 0.007). However, we found that brain activity in anesthetized monkeys generally shifted toward random fluctuations. Moreover, there is a negative correlation between nodal entropy for the distribution of dynamic functional connectivity patterns and static functional connectivity strength in anesthetized monkeys, but not in awake humans. Our findings indicate that the heterogeneous architecture of intrinsic functional flexibility across cortex probably reflects an evolutionarily conserved aspect of functional brain organization, which persists across levels of cognitive processing (states of consciousness). The coupling between nodal entropy for the distribution of dynamic functional connectivity patterns and static functional connectivity strength may serve as a potential signature of anesthesia. This study not only offers fresh insight into the evolution of brain functional architecture, but also advances our understanding of the dynamics of spontaneous brain activity.
Yin, D., Zhang, Z., Wang, Z., Zeljic, K., Lv, Q., Cai, D., … Wang, Z. (2019). Brain map of intrinsic functional flexibility in anesthetized monkeys and awake humans. Frontiers in Neuroscience, 13(FEB). https://doi.org/10.3389/fnins.2019.00174