Fluctuations of the EEG-fMRI correlation reflect intrinsic strength of functional connectivity in default mode network

Tuija Keinänen*, Seppo Rytky, Vesa O. Korhonen, Niko Huotari, Juha Nikkinen, Osmo Tervonen, J. Matias Palva, Vesa Kiviniemi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


Both functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) and electrophysiological recordings have revealed that resting-state functional connectivity is temporally variable in human brain. Combined full-band electroencephalography-fMRI (fbEEG-fMRI) studies have shown that infraslow (<.1 Hz) fluctuations in EEG scalp potential are correlated with the blood-oxygen-level-dependent (BOLD) fMRI signals and that also this correlation appears variable over time. Here, we used simultaneous fbEEG-fMRI to test the hypothesis that correlation dynamics between BOLD and fbEEG signals could be explained by fluctuations in the activation properties of resting-state networks (RSNs) such as the extent or strength of their activation. We used ultrafast magnetic resonance encephalography (MREG) fMRI to enable temporally accurate and statistically robust short-time-window comparisons of infra-slow fbEEG and BOLD signals. We found that the temporal fluctuations in the fbEEG-BOLD correlation were dependent on RSN connectivity strength, but not on the mean signal level or magnitude of RSN activation or motion during scanning. Moreover, the EEG-fMRI correlations were strongest when the intrinsic RSN connectivity was strong and close to the pial surface. Conversely, weak fbEEG-BOLD correlations were attributable to periods of less coherent or spatially more scattered intrinsic RSN connectivity, or RSN activation in deeper cerebral structures. The results thus show that the on-average low correlations between infra-slow EEG and BOLD signals are, in fact, governed by the momentary coherence and depth of the underlying RSN activation, and may reach systematically high values with appropriate source activities. These findings further consolidate the notion of slow scalp potentials being directly coupled to hemodynamic fluctuations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1689-1698
Number of pages10
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2018
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • EEG
  • fMRI
  • functional connectivity
  • infra-slow fluctuations
  • resting state MRI
  • resting-state networks


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