Effects of localized brain stimulation depend on dynamical state

Stimulation can be used to alter brain activity and is a therapeutic option for certain neu- rological conditions. However, predicting the distributed effects of local perturbations is difficult. Previous studies show that responses to stimulation depend on anatomical (or structural) coupling. In addition to structure, in our PLoS Computational Biology paper (in collaboration with Danielle Bassett and Lia Papadopoulos), we consider how stimulation effects also depend on the brain’s collective dynamical (or functional) state, arising from the coordination of rhythmic activity across large-scale networks.

In a whole-brain computational model, we show that global responses to regional stimulation can indeed be contingent upon and differ across various dynamical working points. Notably, depending on the network’s oscillatory regime, stimulation can accelerate the activity of the stimulated site, and lead to widespread effects at both the new, excited frequency, as well as in a much broader frequency range including areas’ baseline frequencies. While structural connectivity is a good predictor of “excited band” changes, in some states “baseline band” effects can be better predicted by functional connectivity, which depends upon the system’s oscillatory regime. By integrating and extending past efforts, our results thus indicate that dynamical—in additional to structural—brain organization plays a role in governing how focal stimulation modulates interactions between distributed network elements.

To know more:

  • L. Papadopoulos, C.W. Lynn, D. Battaglia*, D.S. Bassett* (2020). Relations between large-scale brain connectivity and effects of regional stimulation depend on collective dynamical state. PLoS Comput Biol 16, e1008144. [* Shared last authorship].