Three Distinct Sets of Connector Hubs Integrate Human Brain Function

Evan M. Gordon, Charles J. Lynch, Caterina Gratton, Timothy O. Laumann, Adrian W. Gilmore, Deanna J. Greene, Mario Ortega, Annie L. Nguyen, Bradley L. Schlaggar, Steven E. Petersen, Nico U.F. Dosenbach, Steven M. Nelson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations


Control over behavior is enabled by the brain's control networks, which interact with lower-level sensory motor and default networks to regulate their functions. Such interactions are facilitated by specialized “connector hub” regions that interconnect discrete networks. Previous work has treated hubs as a single category of brain regions, although their unitary nature is dubious when examined in individual brains. Here we investigated the nature of hubs by using fMRI to characterize individual-specific hub regions in two independent datasets. We identified three separable sets of connector hubs that integrate information between specific brain networks. These three hub categories occupy different positions within the brain's network structure; they affect networks differently when artificially lesioned, and they are differentially engaged during cognitive and motor task performance. This work suggests a model of brain organization in which different connector hubs integrate control functions and enable top-down control of separate processing streams. Gordon et al. identify separable control-processing, control-default, and cross-control connector hubs that integrate specific brain networks. These hub sets are differentially engaged during task performance and affect networks differently when artificially lesioned. Different connector hub sets may separately enable top-down control of sensory motor, emotional, and control of control functions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1687-1695.e4
JournalCell reports
Issue number7
StatePublished - Aug 14 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This work was supported by NIH grants NS088590 and TR000448 (to N.U.F.D.) and MH104592 (to D.J.G.); the Jacobs Foundation (to N.U.F.D.); the Child Neurology Foundation (to N.U.F.D.); the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience (to N.U.F.D. and B.L.S.); the Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology (to N.U.F.D.); the Hope Center for Neurological Disorders (to N.U.F.D., B.L.S., and S.E.P.); an American Psychological Association dissertation research award (to A.W.G.); and the McDonnell Foundation (to S.E.P.). The views expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the position or policy of the Department of Veterans Affairs or the United States government.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018


  • brain networks
  • connector hubs
  • fMRI
  • functional connectivity


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