Researchers unveil biological basis of network control theory in brain dynamics

USTC unveil the biological basis of network control theory in brain dynamics

Regional differences in energy efficiency between TLE patients and healthy controls. Photo credit: He Xiaosong et al

A team led by University of Science and Technology (USTC) researcher He Xiaosong unveiled the correlation between control energy expenditure and glucose metabolism in temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE), thereby providing the biological basis for applying network control theory (NCT) to the study the brain dynamics. This work was published in scientific advances on 9.11.

Understanding the mechanism of neuronal dynamics in different brain regions has been a major focus of neuroscience. In recent years, NCT, an engineering-derived theory, has been widely used to estimate the control energy in the dynamic processes in the brain by modeling the transitions of different brain states. Control energy originally referred to the input of energy required to change the state of the system. However, when it comes to brain dynamics, the biological counterpart of such an energy input remains unknown, raising questions about the application of NCT.

Based on a comparison between the brain structures of TLE patients and healthy controls, the team simulated two representative brain dynamic processes and calculated the control energy expended in these processes. Results showed that patients with TLE required significantly higher global optimal control energy (OCE) to activate the limbic network compared to healthy controls. The abnormal energetic efficiency is consistent with the lateralization of the seizure focus, implying that the seven limbic brain regions ipsilateral to the seizure focus expend more control energy to maintain brain dynamics.

USTC unveil the biological basis of network control theory in brain dynamics

Correlation between baseline glucose metabolism and control energy expenditure. Photo credit: HE Xiaosong et al.

Using positron emission tomography, the team confirmed that baseline levels of glucose metabolism in these brain regions are inversely correlated with control energy expenditure, meaning that lower baseline metabolism requires more energy to achieve the same level of activation. A decline in regional basal metabolism arose from loss of structural integrity, particularly in the hippocampus, and eventually led to higher energy costs of maintaining brain dynamics.

The team provided a unified framework for the correlations between brain structural integrity, baseline glucose metabolism and the control energy required to maintain brain dynamics. By providing a possible biological explanation of control energy, this work lays the groundwork for further NCT applications in neuroscience.

More information:
Xiaosong He et al, Uncovering the Biological Basis of Control Energy: Structural and Metabolic Correlates of Energy Inefficiency in Temporal Lobe Epilepsy, scientific advances (2022). DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.abn2293

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Citation: Researchers Reveal Biological Basis of Network Control Theory in Brain Dynamics (2022 December 13) Retrieved December 13, 2022 from html

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