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SJTU Researchers Published Latest Findings in Cerebral Cortex

May 25, 2021      Author:

Recently, the research team led by Li Songting and Zhou Dongzhuo from the Institute of Natural Sciences and School of Mathematical Sciences, SJTU analyzed the connection structure data of the brain networks of five species, from  C. elegans to humans, and found that the wiring length distribution of the brain networks of these different species are consistent with the maximum entropy principle under the constraints of limited wiring material and the spatial locations of brain areas or neurons. The research findings titled "Maximum entropy principle underlies wiring length distribution in brain networks" was published on May 17 on the website of Cerebral Cortex, an authoritative journal in the field of neuroscience.

The research team first found through analysis that the length distribution of the brain network connection edges in the five species, namely Drosophila, mouse, macaque, human, and C. elegans, all comply with the maximum entropy principle (MEP) under the constraints of limited wiring material and the spatial locations of brain areas or neurons. Subsequently, the research group further proposed the biological realization process incorporating MEP and the corresponding brain network structure generation model. Numerical experiments show that the model can more accurately reconstruct the various statistical characteristics of the brain network structure of the five species. Finally, further analysis showed that the maximum entropy of the brain network corresponds to the small average shortest path of the network and other structural features, thereby supporting its efficient information processing function.

The first author of this paper is Song Yuru, a PhD student at the University of California, San Diego, and the corresponding authors are Zhou Dongzhuo and Professor Li Songting. Song Yuru visited the research team during her undergraduate study. During the visit, she started the research and completed the main work of the article. This work was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China, the Ministry of Science and Technology, Shanghai Municipal Science and Technology Commission and Shanghai Education Commission.

 

Author: Li Songting

Source: Institute of Natural Sciences, SJTU

Translated by Fu Jing

Proofread by Xiao Yangning, Fu Yuhe

 

ABSTRACT:

A brain network comprises a substantial amount of short-range connections with an admixture of long-range connections. The portion of long-range connections in brain networks is observed to be quantitatively dissimilar across species. It is hypothesized that the length of connections is constrained by the spatial embedding of brain networks, yet fundamental principles that underlie the wiring length distribution remain unclear. By quantifying the structural diversity of a brain network using Shannon's entropy, here we show that the wiring length distribution across multiple species-including Drosophila, mouse, macaque, human, and C. elegans-follows the maximum entropy principle (MEP) under the constraints of limited wiring material and the spatial locations of brain areas or neurons. In addition, by considering stochastic axonal growth, we propose a network formation process capable of reproducing wiring length distributions of the 5 species, thereby implementing MEP in a biologically plausible manner. We further develop a generative model incorporating MEP, and show that, for the 5 species, the generated network exhibits high similarity to the real network. Our work indicates that the brain connectivity evolves to be structurally diversified by maximizing entropy to support efficient interareal communication, providing a potential organizational principle of brain networks.