Structural constraints to information flow within cortical circuits

Transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) has been used for more than 20 years to investigate brain function by perturbing and observing the consequent behavioral, pathophysiological and electrophysiological modulations. These latter, mainly measured by high-density electroencephalography (hd-EEG), revealed signatures of the functional organization in a brain network. In order to unveil the nature and the underlying mechanism of these signatures, we here mapped TMS-induced hd-EEG changes onto changes in information flow and brain structural architecture, using multimodal modeling of source reconstructed TMS/hd-EEG recordings and diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) tractography in a cohort of awake healthy volunteers. We observed that the relationship between information flow and structural connections depend on the stimulation site and on the frequency of the TMS-induced brain rhythms. These findings highlight the importance of taking into account the dynamics of different local oscillations when investigating the mechanisms for integration and segregation of information in the human brain. Our whole-brain analysis sheds light on the function-structure organization of the brain network after TMS, and on the huge variety of information contained in it.

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