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Network alignment and similarity reveal atlas-based topological differences in structural connectomes

Matteo Frigo 1, 2 Emilio Cruciani 3, 2 David Coudert 3, 2 Rachid Deriche 1, 2 Samuel Deslauriers-Gauthier 1, 2 Emanuele Natale 3, 2
1 ATHENA - Computational Imaging of the Central Nervous System
CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée
3 COATI - Combinatorics, Optimization and Algorithms for Telecommunications
CRISAM - Inria Sophia Antipolis - Méditerranée , Laboratoire I3S - COMRED - COMmunications, Réseaux, systèmes Embarqués et Distribués
Abstract : The interactions between different brain regions can be modeled as a graph, called connectome, whose nodes correspond to parcels from a predefined brain atlas. The edges of the graph encode the strength of the axonal connectivity between regions of the atlas which can be estimated via diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) tractography. Herein, we aim at providing a novel perspective on the problem of choosing a suitable atlas for structural connectivity studies by assessing how robustly an atlas captures the network topology across different subjects in a homogeneous cohort. We measure this robustness by assessing the alignability of the connectomes, namely the possibility to retrieve graph matchings that provide highly similar graphs. We introduce two novel concepts. First, the graph Jaccard index (GJI), a graph similarity measure based on the well-established Jaccard index between sets; the GJI exhibits natural mathematical properties that are not satisfied by previous approaches. Second, we devise WL-align, a new technique for aligning connectomes obtained by adapting the Weisfeiler-Lehman (WL) graph-isomorphism test. We validated the GJI and WL-align on data from the Human Connectome Project database, inferring a strategy for choosing a suitable parcellation for structural connectivity studies. Code and data are publicly available.
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Submitted on : Tuesday, May 18, 2021 - 3:08:37 PM
Last modification on : Friday, January 21, 2022 - 3:12:21 AM

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Matteo Frigo, Emilio Cruciani, David Coudert, Rachid Deriche, Samuel Deslauriers-Gauthier, et al.. Network alignment and similarity reveal atlas-based topological differences in structural connectomes. Network Neuroscience, MIT Press, 2021, ⟨10.1162/netn_a_00199⟩. ⟨hal-03033777v2⟩

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