Rich Club organisation of the human connectome
Martijn van den Heuvel and Olaf Sporns, University of Utrecht and Indiana University
The Journal of Neuroscience, Nov 2 2011, 31(44) pp. 15775-15786
Summary of the above article
Recent studies have indicated the existence of twelve highly connected hubs, referred to as the rich club, in both the cortex and subcortical regions that have a role in integrating information between different parts of the brain’s processing. These compromise the precuneus, the superior frontal, the superior parietal, the hippocampus, the putamen and the thalamus, all in both the left and right hemispheres. These regions including the subcortical areas were found to be densely interconnected. The hubs connect amongst themselves more than with the less densely connected parts of the brain. Damage to these hubs or their interconnections have been shown to correlate with neuropathology. Earlier animal studies had indicated similar hub structures in monkeys. The suggestion is that the hubs operate as an entity rather than as separate regions.
There is a hypothesis that the rich club partially overlaps several other networks of brain processing such as the default network, the salience network, the executive network and the motor, visual and auditory networks. Damage tothe rich club has been shown to cause three times the impairment caused by damage in other areas, which is taken to suggest that the rich club has a central role in brain communications.