Hubs, in an intuitive sense, are nodes with special importance in a network by virtue of Buparlisib supplier their many, often diverse, connections. The quantitative importance of hubs has been demonstrated in a series of graph theoretic studies (Albert et al., 1999, Albert et al., 2000, Barabasi and Albert, 1999, Jeong et al., 2000 and Jeong et al., 2001). Graphs are mathematical models of complex systems (e.g., air traffic) in which the items
in a system become a set of nodes (e.g., airports) and the relationships in the system become a set of edges (e.g., flights). Hubs are defined as nodes with many edges or with edges that place them in central positions for facilitating traffic over a network. The number of edges on a node is called
the node’s degree, and degree is the simplest and most commonly used means of identifying hubs in graphs. Over the past decade it has become clear that many real-world networks contain nodes that vary by many orders of magnitude in their degree such that a handful of nodes have very powerful roles in networks (e.g., Google learn more in the World Wide Web) (Albert et al., 1999, Barabasi and Albert, 1999 and Jeong et al., 2000). The loss of such well-connected hubs can be particularly devastating to network function (Albert et al., 2000, Jeong et al., 2000 and Jeong et al., 2001). Given the role of hubs and their importance to networks, the locations and functions of hubs in the brain are of clear interest to neuroscientists. Over the past 15 years, advances in MRI techniques have enabled comprehensive estimates of structural
and functional connectivity in the living human brain, leading to the first estimates of hub locations in human brain networks. In an influential study, Buckner and colleagues (Buckner et al., 2009) examined voxelwise resting-state functional connectivity MRI (RSFC) networks, identifying hubs (high-degree nodes) in portions of the default mode system, as well as some regions of the anterior cingulate, anterior insula, and frontal and parietal cortex. Other investigations targeting “globally connected” regions in RSFC data Methisazone have converged on similar sets of regions (Cole et al., 2010 and Tomasi and Volkow, 2011). These “hubs” have garnered much interest because they are principally located in the default mode system, a collection of brain regions that are implicated in various “high-level” cognitive processes and that often degenerate in Alzheimer disease, thereby seeming to fit ideas about information integration and vulnerability to attack. In this article we outline reasons to suspect that degree-based hubs reported in functional connectivity networks may not be hubs in the interesting and intuitive sense outlined at the beginning of this article, but rather that they might simply be members of the largest subnetwork(s) (systems) of the brain. We follow two separate lines of argumentation to this conclusion.