Electroencephalography microstates (EEG-ms) capture and reflect the spatio-temporal neural dynamics of the brain. A growing literature is employing EEG-ms-based analyses to study various mental illnesses and to evaluate brain mechanisms implicated in cognitive and emotional processing. The spatial and functional interpretation of the EEG-ms is still being investigated. Previous works studied the association of EEG-ms time courses with blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) signal and suggested an association between EEG-ms and resting-state networks (RSNs). However, the distinctive association between EEG-ms temporal dynamics and brain neuronal activities is still not clear, despite the assumption that EEG-ms are an electrophysiological representation of RSNs activity. Recent works suggest a role for brain spontaneous EEG rhythms in contributing to and modulating canonical EEG-ms topographies and determining their classes (coined A through D) and metrics. This work simultaneously utilized EEG and fMRI to understand the EEG-ms and their properties further. We adopted the canonical EEG-ms analysis to extract three types of regressors for EEG-informed fMRI analyses: EEG-ms direct time courses, temporal activity per microstate, and pairwise temporal transitions among microstates (the latter two coined activity regressors). After convolving EEG-ms regressors with a hemodynamic response function, a generalized linear model whole-brain voxel-wise analysis was conducted to associate EEG-ms regressors with fMRI signals. The direct time course regressors replicated prior findings of the association between the fMRI signal and EEG-ms time courses but to a smaller extent. Notably, EEG-ms activity regressors were mostly anticorrelated with fMRI, including brain regions in the somatomotor, visual, dorsal attention, and ventral attention fMRI networks with no significant overlap for default mode, limbic or frontoparietal networks. A similar pattern emerged in using the transition regressors among microstates but not in self-transitions. The relatively short duration of each EEG-ms and the significant association of EEG-ms activity regressors with fMRI signals suggest that EEG-ms manifests successive transition from one brain functional state to another rather than being associated with specific brain functional state or RSN networks.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience