The overlapping community structure of structural brain network in young healthy individuals

Kai Wu, Yasuyuki Taki, Kazunori Sato, Yuko Sassa, Kentaro Inoue, Ryoi Goto, Ken Okada, Ryuta Kawashima, Yong He, Alan C. Evans, Hiroshi Fukuda

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Community structure is a universal and significant feature of many complex networks in biology, society, and economics. Community structure has also been revealed in human brain structural and functional networks in previous studies. However, communities overlap and share many edges and nodes. Uncovering the overlapping community structure of complex networks remains largely unknown in human brain networks. Here, using regional gray matter volume, we investigated the structural brain network among 90 brain regions (according to a predefined anatomical atlas) in 462 young, healthy individuals. Overlapped nodes between communities were defined by assuming that nodes (brain regions) can belong to more than one community. We demonstrated that 90 brain regions were organized into 5 overlapping communities associated with several well-known brain systems, such as the auditory/language, visuospatial, emotion, decision-making, social, control of action, memory/learning, and visual systems. The overlapped nodes were mostly involved in an inferior-posterior pattern and were primarily related to auditory and visual perception. The overlapped nodes were mainly attributed to brain regions with higher node degrees and nodal efficiency and played a pivotal role in the flow of informa- tion through the structural brain network. Our results revealed fuzzy boundaries between communities by identifying overlapped nodes and provided new insights into the understanding of the relationship between the structure and function of the human brain. This study provides the first report of the overlapping community structure of the structural network of the human brain.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere19608
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2011


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