Summary: Researchers have identified a mechanism that helps rouse the brains of mice suffering from simulated sleep apnea. The findings could help develop new treatments for people with obstructive sleep apnea and provide new insights into SIDS.
Source: Oregon Health and Science University.
Every person has a distinct pattern of functional brain connectivity known as a connectotype, or brain fingerprint. A new study conducted at OHSU in Portland, Oregon, concludes that while individually unique, each connectotype demonstrates both familial and heritable relationships. The results published today in Network Neuroscience.
“Similar to DNA, specific brain systems and connectivity patterns are passed down from adults to their children,” said the study’s principal investigator Damien Fair, Ph.D., P.A.-C., associate professor of behavioral neuroscience and psychiatry, OHSU School of Medicine. “This is significant because it may help us to better characterize aspects of altered brain activity, development or disease.”
Using two data sets of functional MRI brain scans from more than 350 adult and child siblings during resting state, Fair and colleagues applied an innovative technique to characterize functional connectivity and machine learning to successfully identify siblings based on their connectotype.
Through a similar process, the team also distinguished individual sibling and twin pairs from unrelated pairs in both children and adults.
“This confirms that while unique to each individual, some aspects of the family connectome are inherited and maintained throughout development and may be useful as early biomarkers of mental or neurological conditions,” said lead author Oscar Miranda-Dominguez, Ph.D., research assistant professor of behavioral neuroscience, OHSU School of Medicine.
Overall, the connectotype demonstrated heritability within five brain systems, the most prominent being the frontoparietal cortex, or the part of the brain that filters incoming information. The dorsal attention and default systems, important for attention or focus and internal mental thoughts or rumination, respectively, also showed significant occurrences.
“These findings add to the way we think about normal and altered brain function,” said Fair. “Further, it creates more opportunity for personalized and targeted treatment approaches for conditions such as ADHD or autism.”
Funding: This work was supported by McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience, Oregon Health and Science University Fellowship for Diversity in Research.
Source: Tracy Brawley – Oregon Health and Science University
Publisher: Organized by NeuroscienceNews.com.
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Original Research: Abstract for “Heritability of the human connectome: a connectotyping study” by Óscar Miranda-Domínguez, Eric Feczko, David S. Grayson, Hasse Walum, Joel T. Nigg and Damien A. Fair in Network Neuroscience. Published online November 2 2017 doi:10.1162/NETN_a_00029
Heritability of the human connectome: a connectotyping study
Recent progress in resting-state neuroimaging demonstrates that the brain exhibits highly individualized patterns of functional connectivity – a “connectotype.” How these individualized patterns may be constrained by environment and genetics is unknown. Here we ask whether the connectotype is familial and heritable. Using a novel approach to estimate familiality via a machine-learning framework, we analyzed resting-state fMRI scans from two well-characterized samples of child and adult siblings. First we show that individual connectotypes were reliably identified even several years after the initial scanning timepoint. Familial relationships between participants, i.e. siblings vs. unrelated, were also accurately characterized. The connectotype demonstrated substantial heritability driven by high-order systems including the fronto-parietal, dorsal-attention, ventral-attention, cingulo-opercular, and default systems. This work suggests that shared genetics and environment contribute towards producing complex, individualized patterns of distributed brain activity, rather than constraining local aspects of function. These insights offer new strategies for characterizing individual aberrations in brain function and evaluating heritability of brain networks.
By using machine learning and two independent datasets, Miranda-Dominguez et al. show that brain’s individualized functional connectome or connectotype is familial and heritable. First we expand previous findings showing that by using a model-based approach to characterize functional connectivity we can reliably identify and track individual brain signatures – a so called functional “fingerprint” or “connectotype” for the human brain – in both children and adults. Such signatures can also be used to characterize familial and heritable patterns of brain connectivity, even using limited data. Most heritable systems include the fronto-parietal, dorsal attention, ventral-attention, cingulo-opercular, and default systems. Proposed approach offer new strategies for characterizing normative development as well as altered patterns of brain connectivity and assist in characterizing the associations between genetic and epigenetic factors with brain function.
“Heritability of the human connectome: a connectotyping study” by Óscar Miranda-Domínguez, Eric Feczko, David S. Grayson, Hasse Walum, Joel T. Nigg and Damien A. Fair in Network Neuroscience. Published online November 2 2017 doi:10.1162/NETN_a_00029