A challenge in neuroscience is to describe the contribution of the brain anatomical wiring to the emergence of coordinated neural activity underlying complex behavior. Indeed, patterns of remote coactivations that adjust with the ongoing task-demand do not systematically match direct, static anatomical links. Here, we propose that observed coactivation patterns, known as Functional Connectivity (FC), can be explained by a linear diffusion dynamics defined on the brain architecture and driven by control regions. Our model, termed structure-informed FC, provides a novel interpretation of functional connectivity according to which different sets of brain regions controlling the information flow on a fixed anatomical wiring enable the emergence of state-specific FC. We introduce a framework for the identification of potential control centers in the brain and we find that well-defined, sparse and robust sets of control regions, which partially overlap across several task conditions and resting-state, produce FC patterns comparable to empirical ones. This work introduces a principled approach that leverages the controllability framework in order to reassess the structure-function relationship in the human brain.Competing Interest StatementThe authors have declared no competing interest.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience