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International Journal of Biomedical Imaging
Volume 2013 (2013), Article ID 201735, 8 pages
Research Article

A Comparative Study of Theoretical Graph Models for Characterizing Structural Networks of Human Brain

1School of Automation, Northwestern Polytechnical University, Xi'an 710071, China
2Department of Psychiatry, The Mental Health Institute, The Second Xiangya Hospital, Central South University, Changsha, China
3Department of Computer Science and Bioimaging Research Center, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA

Received 18 March 2013; Accepted 8 October 2013

Academic Editor: Jie Tian

Copyright © 2013 Xiaojin Li et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Previous studies have investigated both structural and functional brain networks via graph-theoretical methods. However, there is an important issue that has not been adequately discussed before: what is the optimal theoretical graph model for describing the structural networks of human brain? In this paper, we perform a comparative study to address this problem. Firstly, large-scale cortical regions of interest (ROIs) are localized by recently developed and validated brain reference system named Dense Individualized Common Connectivity-based Cortical Landmarks (DICCCOL) to address the limitations in the identification of the brain network ROIs in previous studies. Then, we construct structural brain networks based on diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) data. Afterwards, the global and local graph properties of the constructed structural brain networks are measured using the state-of-the-art graph analysis algorithms and tools and are further compared with seven popular theoretical graph models. In addition, we compare the topological properties between two graph models, namely, stickiness-index-based model (STICKY) and scale-free gene duplication model (SF-GD), that have higher similarity with the real structural brain networks in terms of global and local graph properties. Our experimental results suggest that among the seven theoretical graph models compared in this study, STICKY and SF-GD models have better performances in characterizing the structural human brain network.