Inferring neural signalling directionality from undirected structural connectomes

Caio Seguin, Adeel Razi, Andrew Zalesky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Neural information flow is inherently directional. To date, investigation of directional communication in the human structural connectome has been precluded by the inability of non-invasive neuroimaging methods to resolve axonal directionality. Here, we demonstrate that decentralized measures of network communication, applied to the undirected topology and geometry of brain networks, can infer putative directions of large-scale neural signalling. We propose the concept of send-receive communication asymmetry to characterize cortical regions as senders, receivers or neutral, based on differences between their incoming and outgoing communication efficiencies. Our results reveal a send-receive cortical hierarchy that recapitulates established organizational gradients differentiating sensory-motor and multimodal areas. We find that send-receive asymmetries are significantly associated with the directionality of effective connectivity derived from spectral dynamic causal modeling. Finally, using fruit fly, mouse and macaque connectomes, we provide further evidence suggesting that directionality of neural signalling is significantly encoded in the undirected architecture of nervous systems.

Original languageEnglish
Article number4289
Number of pages13
JournalNature Communications
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 19 Sep 2019


  • applied mathematics
  • computer science
  • network models
  • neural circuits

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