Dynamical consequences of regional heterogeneity in the brain's transcriptional landscape.
Deco G., Kringelbach ML., Arnatkeviciute A., Oldham S., Sabaroedin K., Rogasch NC., Aquino KM., Fornito A.
Brain regions vary in their molecular and cellular composition, but how this heterogeneity shapes neuronal dynamics is unclear. Here, we investigate the dynamical consequences of regional heterogeneity using a biophysical model of whole-brain functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) dynamics in humans. We show that models in which transcriptional variations in excitatory and inhibitory receptor (E:I) gene expression constrain regional heterogeneity more accurately reproduce the spatiotemporal structure of empirical functional connectivity estimates than do models constrained by global gene expression profiles or MRI-derived estimates of myeloarchitecture. We further show that regional transcriptional heterogeneity is essential for yielding both ignition-like dynamics, which are thought to support conscious processing, and a wide variance of regional-activity time scales, which supports a broad dynamical range. We thus identify a key role for E:I heterogeneity in generating complex neuronal dynamics and demonstrate the viability of using transcriptomic data to constrain models of large-scale brain function.