Abstract

Abstract

Functional imaging investigations into the brain’s resting state interactions have yielded a wealth of insight into the intrinsic and dynamic neural architecture supporting cognition and behavior. Electrophysiological studies however have highlighted the fact that synchrony across large-scale cortical systems is composed of spontaneous interactions occurring at timescales beyond the traditional resolution of fMRI, a feature that limits the capacity of fMRI to draw inference on the true directional relationship between network nodes. To approach the question of directionality in resting state signals, we recorded resting state functional MRI (rsfMRI) and electrocorticography (ECoG) from four human subjects undergoing invasive epilepsy monitoring. Using a seed-point based approach, we employed phase-amplitude coupling (PAC) and biPhase Locking Values (bPLV), two measures of cross-frequency coupling (CFC) to explore both outgoing and incoming connections between the seed and all non-seed, site electrodes. We observed robust PAC between a wide range of low-frequency phase and high frequency amplitude estimates. However, significant bPLV, a CFC measure of phase-phase synchrony, was only observed at specific narrow low and high frequency bandwidths. Furthermore, the spatial patterns of outgoing PAC connectivity were most closely associated with the rsfMRI connectivity maps. Our results support the hypothesis that PAC is relatively ubiquitous phenomenon serving as a mechanism for coordinating high-frequency amplitudes across distant neuronal assemblies even in absence of overt task structure. Additionally, we demonstrate that the spatial distribution of a seed-point rsfMRI sensorimotor network is strikingly similar to specific patterns of directional PAC. Specifically, the high frequency activities of distal patches of cortex owning membership in a rsfMRI sensorimotor network were most likely to be entrained to the phase of a low frequency rhythm engendered from the neural populations at the seed-point, suggestive of greater directional coupling from the seed out to the site electrodes.