Stam, C. J., A. Hillebrand, H. Wang,and P. Van Mieghem, 2010, "Emergence of modular structure in a large-scale brain network with interactions between dynamics and connectivity, Frontiers in Computational Neuroscience, Vol. 4, article 133, September, pp. 1-13.
A network of 32 or 64 connected neural masses, each representing a large population of interacting excitatory and inhibitory neurons and generating an electroencephalography / magnetoencephalography like output signal, was used to demonstrate how an interaction between dynamics and connectivity might explain the emergence of complex network features, in particular modularity. Network evolution was modeled by two processes: (i) synchronization dependent plasticity (SDP) and (ii) growth dependent plasticity (GDP). In the case of SDP, connections between neural masses were strengthened when they were strongly synchronized, and were weakened when they were not. GDP was modeled as a homeostatic process with random, distance dependent outgrowth of new connections between neural masses. GDP alone resulted in stable networks with distance dependent connection strengths, typical small-world features, but no degree correlations and only weak modularity. SDP applied to random networks induced clustering, but no clear modules. Stronger modularity evolved only through an interaction of SDP and GDP, with the number and size of the modules depending on the relative strength of both processes, as well as on the size of the network. Lesioning part of the network, after a stable state was achieved, resulted in a temporary disruption of the network structure. The model gives a possible scenario to explain how modularity can arise in developing brain networks, and makes predictions about the time course of network changes during development and following acute lesions.