January 22, 2021

Microstructural underpinnings and macroscale functional implications of temporal lobe connectivity gradients

The temporal lobe is implicated in higher cognitive processes and is one of the regions that underwent substantial reorganization during primate evolution. Its functions are instantiated, in part, by its complex layout of structural connections. This study identified low-dimensional representations of structural connectivity variations in human temporal cortex and explored their microstructural underpinnings and associations to macroscale function. We identified three eigenmodes which described gradients in structural connectivity. These gradients reflected inter-regional variations in cortical microstructure derived from quantitative MRI and post-mortem histology. Gradient-informed models accurately predicted macroscale measures of temporal lobe function. Gradients aligned closely with established measures of functional reconfiguration and areal expansion between macaques and humans, highlighting the important role evolution has played in shaping temporal lobe function. Our results provide robust evidence for three axes of structural connectivity in human temporal cortex with consistent microstructural underpinnings and contributions to large-scale brain network function.

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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