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Optimization of Energy State Transition Trajectory Supports the Development of Executive Function During Youth

By Zaixu Cui, Jennifer Stiso, Graham L Baum, Jason Z Kim, David R Roalf, Richard Betzel, Shi Gu, Zhixin Lu, Cedric H Xia, Rastko Ciric, Tyler M Moore, Russell T Shinohara, Kosha Ruparel, Christos Davatzikos, Fabio Pasqualetti, Raquel E. Gur, Ruben C Gur, Dani S. Bassett, Theodore D Satterthwaite

Posted 23 Sep 2018
bioRxiv DOI: 10.1101/424929 (published DOI: 10.7554/eLife.53060)

Executive function develops rapidly during adolescence, and failures of executive function are associated with both risk-taking behaviors and psychopathology. However, it remains relatively unknown how structural brain networks mature during this critical period to facilitate energetically demanding transitions to activate the frontoparietal system, which is critical for executive function. In a sample of 946 human youths (ages 8-23 yr) who completed diffusion imaging as part of the Philadelphia Neurodevelopment Cohort, we capitalized upon recent advances in network control theory in order to calculate the control energy necessary to activate the frontoparietal system given the existing structural network topology. We found that the control energy required to activate the frontoparietal system declined with development. Moreover, we found that this control energy pattern contains sufficient information to make accurate predictions about individuals' brain maturity. Finally, the control energy costs of the cingulate cortex were negatively correlated with executive performance, and partially mediated the development of executive performance with age. These results could not be explained by changes in general network control properties or in network modularity. Taken together, our results reveal a mechanism by which structural networks develop during adolescence to facilitate the instantiation of activation states necessary for executive function.

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