Shim WH, Baek K, Kim JK, Chae Y, Suh J-Y, Rosen BR, Jeong J, Kim YR. Frequency distribution of causal connectivity in rat sensorimotor network: resting-state fMRI analyses. J Neurophysiol 109: 238-248, 2013. First published September 26, 2012; doi:10.1152/jn.00332.2012.-Resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) has emerged as an important method for assessing neural networks, enabling extensive connectivity analyses between multiple brain regions. Among the analysis techniques proposed, partial directed coherence (PDC) provides a promising tool to unveil causal connectivity networks in the frequency domain. Using the MRI time series obtained from the rat sensorimotor system, we applied PDC analysis to determine the frequency-dependent causality networks. In particular, we compared in vivo and postmortem conditions to establish the statistical significance of directional PDC values. Our results demonstrate that two distinctive frequency populations drive the causality networks in rat; significant, high-frequency causal connections clustered in the range of 0.2-0.4 Hz, and the frequently documented low-frequency connections <0.15 Hz. Frequency-dependence and directionality of the causal connection are characteristic between sensorimotor regions, implying the functional role of frequency bands to transport specific resting-state signals. In particular, whereas both intra-and interhemispheric causal connections between heterologous sensorimotor regions are robust over all frequency levels, the bilaterally homologous regions are interhemispherically linked mostly via low-frequency components. We also discovered a significant, frequency-independent, unidirectional connection from motor cortex to thalamus, indicating dominant cortical inputs to the thalamus in the absence of external stimuli. Additionally, to address factors underlying the measurement error, we performed signal simulations and revealed that the interactive MRI system noise alone is a likely source of the inaccurate PDC values. This work demonstrates technical basis for the PDC analysis of resting-state fMRI time series and the presence of frequency-dependent causality networks in the sensorimotor system.