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Local orchestration of distributed functional patterns supporting loss and restoration of consciousness in the primate brain

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Uhrig, Lynn 
Signorelli, Camilo M 
Stamatakis, Emmanuel A  ORCID logo


jats:titleAbstract</jats:title>jats:pA central challenge of neuroscience is to elucidate how brain function supports consciousness. Here, we combine the specificity of focal deep brain stimulation with fMRI coverage of the entire cortex, in awake and anaesthetised non-human primates. During propofol, sevoflurane, or ketamine anaesthesia, and subsequent restoration of responsiveness by electrical stimulation of the central thalamus, we investigate how loss of consciousness impacts distributed patterns of structure-function organisation across scales. We report that distributed brain activity under anaesthesia is increasingly constrained by brain structure across scales, coinciding with anaesthetic-induced collapse of multiple dimensions of hierarchical cortical organisation. These distributed signatures are observed across different anaesthetics, and they are reversed by electrical stimulation of the central thalamus, coinciding with recovery of behavioural markers of arousal. No such effects were observed upon stimulating the ventral lateral thalamus, demonstrating specificity. Overall, we identify consistent distributed signatures of consciousness that are orchestrated by specific thalamic nuclei.</jats:p>


Acknowledgements: This work was supported by a Gates Cambridge Scholarship (OPP 1144) (to A.I.L.); a Travel Grant of the Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (to A.I.L.); and the visitor program of the European Institute for Theoretical Neuroscience (to A.I.L.); the Fondation pour la Recherche Médicale (FRM grant number ECO20160736100, to J.T.); FNRS Belgium, project MIS/VA - F.4512.21 (to C.M.S.) and grant Embodied-Time – 40011405 (to C.M.S.); the Stephen Erskine Fellowship of Queens’ College, Cambridge (to E.A.S.); CNRS and the European Community (Human Brain Project, H2020-945539, to A.D. and R.C.); the Fondation Bettencourt Schueller (to B.J.); Fondation de France (to B.J.), Human Brain Project (Corticity project FLAG-ERA JTC2017, to B.J.); Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (to B.J.), UVSQ (to B.J.), Commissariat à l’Energie Atomique (to B.J.), Collège de France (to B.J.).


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Nature Communications

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Springer Science and Business Media LLC
Gates Cambridge Trust (OPP 1144)
Boehringer Ingelheim Fonds (Stiftung für medizinische Grundlagenforschung) (Travel Grant)