Dimensionless, scale invariant, edge weight metric for the study of complex structural networks

Luis M. Colon-Perez, Caitlin Spindler, Shelby Goicochea, William Triplett, Mansi Parekh, Eric Montie, Paul R. Carney, Catherine Price, Thomas H. Mareci

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13 Scopus citations


High spatial and angular resolution diffusion weighted imaging (DWI) with network analysis provides a unique framework for the study of brain structure in vivo. DWI-derived brain connectivity patterns are best characterized with graph theory using an edge weight to quantify the strength of white matter connections between gray matter nodes. Here a dimensionless, scale-invariant edge weight is introduced to measure node connectivity. This edge weight metric provides reasonable and consistent values over any size scale (e.g. rodents to humans) used to quantify the strength of connection. Firstly, simulations were used to assess the effects of tractography seed point density and random errors in the estimated fiber orientations; with sufficient signal-to-noise ratio (SNR), edge weight estimates improve as the seed density increases. Secondly to evaluate the application of the edge weight in the human brain, ten repeated measures of DWI in the same healthy human subject were analyzed. Mean edge weight values within the cingulum and corpus callosum were consistent and showed low variability. Thirdly, using excised rat brains to study the effects of spatial resolution, the weight of edges connecting major structures in the temporal lobe were used to characterize connectivity in this local network. The results indicate that with adequate resolution and SNR, connections between network nodes are characterized well by this edge weight metric. Therefore this new dimensionless, scale-invariant edge weight metric provides a robust measure of network connectivity that can be applied in any size regime.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere0131493
JournalPLoS ONE
Issue number7
StatePublished - 14 Jul 2015


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