The extent to which resting-state fMRI (rsfMRI) reflects direct neuronal changes remains unknown. Using 160 simultaneous rsfMRI and intracranial brain stimulation recordings acquired in 26 individuals with epilepsy (with varying electrode locations), we tested whether brain networks dynamically change during intracranial brain stimulation, aiming to establish whether switching between brain networks is reduced during intracranial brain stimulation. As the brain spontaneously switches between a repertoire of intrinsic functional network configurations and the rate of switching is typically increased in brain disorders, we hypothesised that intracranial stimulation would reduce the brain’s switching rate, thus potentially normalising aberrant brain network dynamics. To test this hypothesis, we quantified the rate that brain regions changed networks over time in response to brain stimulation, using network switching applied to multilayer modularity analysis of time-resolved rsfMRI connectivity. Network switching was significantly decreased during epochs with brain stimulation compared to epochs with no brain stimulation. The initial stimulation onset of brain stimulation was associated with the greatest decrease in network switching, followed by a more consistent reduction in network switching throughout the scans. These changes were most commonly observed in cortical networks spatially distant from the stimulation targets. Our results suggest that neuronal perturbation is likely to modulate large-scale brain networks, and multilayer network modelling may be used to inform the clinical efficacy of brain stimulation in neurological disease.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience