Deep sleep divides the cortex into opposite modes of anatomical–functional coupling

Enzo Tagliazucchi, Nicolas Crossley, Edward T. Bullmore, Helmut Laufs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

37 Scopus citations


The coupling of anatomical and functional connectivity at rest suggests that anatomy is essential for wake-typical activity patterns. Here, we study the development of this coupling from wakefulness to deep sleep. Globally, similarity between whole-brain anatomical and functional connectivity networks increased during deep sleep. Regionally, we found differential coupling: during sleep, functional connectivity of primary cortices resembled more the underlying anatomical connectivity, while we observed the opposite in associative cortices. Increased anatomical–functional similarity in sensory areas is consistent with their stereotypical, cross-modal response to the environment during sleep. In distinction, looser coupling—relative to wakeful rest—in higher order integrative cortices suggests that sleep actively disrupts default patterns of functional connectivity in regions essential for the conscious access of information and that anatomical connectivity acts as an anchor for the restoration of their functionality upon awakening.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4221-4234
Number of pages14
JournalBrain structure & function
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • Anatomical connectivity
  • Consciousness
  • Functional connectivity
  • Sleep


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