Header

UZH-Logo

Maintenance Infos

The hypothesis of neuronal interconnectivity as a function of brain size-a general organization principle of the human connectome


Hänggi, Jürgen; Fövenyi, Laszlo; Liem, Franziskus; Meyer, Martin; Jäncke, Lutz (2014). The hypothesis of neuronal interconnectivity as a function of brain size-a general organization principle of the human connectome. Frontiers in Human Neuroscience:8:915.

Abstract

Twenty years ago, Ringo and colleagues proposed that maintaining absolute connectivity in larger compared with smaller brains is computationally inefficient due to increased conduction delays in transcallosal information transfer and expensive with respect to the brain mass needed to establish these additional connections. Therefore, they postulated that larger brains are relatively stronger connected intrahemispherically and smaller brains interhemispherically, resulting in stronger functional lateralization in larger brains. We investigated neuronal interconnections in 138 large and small human brains using diffusion tensor imaging-based fiber tractography. We found a significant interaction between brain size and the type of connectivity. Structural intrahemispheric connectivity is stronger in larger brains, whereas interhemispheric connectivity is only marginally increased in larger compared with smaller brains. Although brain size and gender are confounded, this effect is gender-independent. Additionally, the ratio of interhemispheric to intrahemispheric connectivity correlates inversely with brain size. The hypothesis of neuronal interconnectivity as a function of brain size might account for shorter and more symmetrical interhemispheric transfer times in women and for empirical evidence that visual and auditory processing are stronger lateralized in men. The hypothesis additionally shows that differences in interhemispheric and intrahemispheric connectivity are driven by brain size and not by gender, a finding contradicting a recently published study. Our findings are also compatible with the idea that the more asymmetric a region is, the smaller the density of interhemispheric connections, but the larger the density of intrahemispheric connections. The hypothesis represents an organization principle of the human connectome that might be applied also to non-human animals as suggested by our cross-species comparison.

Abstract

Twenty years ago, Ringo and colleagues proposed that maintaining absolute connectivity in larger compared with smaller brains is computationally inefficient due to increased conduction delays in transcallosal information transfer and expensive with respect to the brain mass needed to establish these additional connections. Therefore, they postulated that larger brains are relatively stronger connected intrahemispherically and smaller brains interhemispherically, resulting in stronger functional lateralization in larger brains. We investigated neuronal interconnections in 138 large and small human brains using diffusion tensor imaging-based fiber tractography. We found a significant interaction between brain size and the type of connectivity. Structural intrahemispheric connectivity is stronger in larger brains, whereas interhemispheric connectivity is only marginally increased in larger compared with smaller brains. Although brain size and gender are confounded, this effect is gender-independent. Additionally, the ratio of interhemispheric to intrahemispheric connectivity correlates inversely with brain size. The hypothesis of neuronal interconnectivity as a function of brain size might account for shorter and more symmetrical interhemispheric transfer times in women and for empirical evidence that visual and auditory processing are stronger lateralized in men. The hypothesis additionally shows that differences in interhemispheric and intrahemispheric connectivity are driven by brain size and not by gender, a finding contradicting a recently published study. Our findings are also compatible with the idea that the more asymmetric a region is, the smaller the density of interhemispheric connections, but the larger the density of intrahemispheric connections. The hypothesis represents an organization principle of the human connectome that might be applied also to non-human animals as suggested by our cross-species comparison.

Statistics

Citations

18 citations in Web of Science®
7 citations in Scopus®
Google Scholar™

Altmetrics

Downloads

47 downloads since deposited on 04 Dec 2014
22 downloads since 12 months
Detailed statistics

Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:06 Faculty of Arts > Institute of Psychology
Dewey Decimal Classification:150 Psychology
Language:English
Date:2014
Deposited On:04 Dec 2014 15:50
Last Modified:03 Aug 2017 17:59
Publisher:Frontiers Research Foundation
ISSN:1662-5161
Free access at:PubMed ID. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.3389/fnhum.2014.00915
PubMed ID:25426059

Download

Preview Icon on Download
Preview
Content: Published Version
Language: English
Filetype: PDF
Size: 2MB
View at publisher
Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)

Article Networks

TrendTerms

TrendTerms displays relevant terms of the abstract of this publication and related documents on a map. The terms and their relations were extracted from ZORA using word statistics. Their timelines are taken from ZORA as well. The bubble size of a term is proportional to the number of documents where the term occurs. Red, orange, yellow and green colors are used for terms that occur in the current document; red indicates high interlinkedness of a term with other terms, orange, yellow and green decreasing interlinkedness. Blue is used for terms that have a relation with the terms in this document, but occur in other documents.
You can navigate and zoom the map. Mouse-hovering a term displays its timeline, clicking it yields the associated documents.

Author Collaborations