Structural optimality and neurogenetic expression mediate functional dynamics in the human brain.


The human brain exhibits a rich functional repertoire in terms of complex functional connectivity patterns during rest and tasks. However, how this is developed upon a fixed structural anatomy remains poorly understood. Here we investigated the hypothesis that resting state functional connectivity and the manner in which it changes during tasks related to a set of underlying structural connections that promote optimal communication in the brain. We used a game-theoretic model to identify such optimal connections in the structural connectome of 50 healthy individuals and subsequently used the optimal structural connections to predict resting-state functional connectivity with high accuracy. In contrast, we found that nonoptimal connections accurately predicted functional connectivity during a working memory task. We further found that this balance between optimal and nonoptimal connections between brain regions was associated with a specific gene expression linked to neurotransmission. This multimodal evidence shows for the first time that structure-function relationships in the human brain are related to how brain networks navigate information along different white matter connections as well as the brain's underlying genetic profile.