Structural Connectivity Gradients of the Temporal Lobe Serve as Multiscale Axes of Brain Organization and Cortical Evolution.
Vos de Wael R., Royer J., Tavakol S., Wang Y., Paquola C., Benkarim O., Eichert N., Larivière S., Xu T., Misic B., Smallwood J., Valk SL., Bernhardt BC.
The temporal lobe is implicated in higher cognitive processes and is one of the regions that underwent substantial reorganization during primate evolution. Its functions are instantiated, in part, by the complex layout of its structural connections. Here, we identified low-dimensional representations of structural connectivity variations in human temporal cortex and explored their microstructural underpinnings and associations to macroscale function. We identified three eigenmodes which described gradients in structural connectivity. These gradients reflected inter-regional variations in cortical microstructure derived from quantitative magnetic resonance imaging and postmortem histology. Gradient-informed models accurately predicted macroscale measures of temporal lobe function. Furthermore, the identified gradients aligned closely with established measures of functional reconfiguration and areal expansion between macaques and humans, highlighting their potential role in shaping temporal lobe function throughout primate evolution. Findings were replicated in several datasets. Our results provide robust evidence for three axes of structural connectivity in human temporal cortex with consistent microstructural underpinnings and contributions to large-scale brain network function.