Studies on structural-functional associations in the visual system require precise information on the location and variability of Brodmann's areas 17 and 18. Usually, these studies are based on the Talairach atlas, which does not rely on cytoarchitectonic observations, but on comparisons of macroscopic features in the Talairach brain and Brodmann's drawing. In addition, in this atlas are found only the approximate positions of cytoarchitectonic areas and not the exact borders. We have cytoarchitectonically mapped both areas in 10 human brains and marked their borders in corresponding computerized images. Borders were defined on the basis of quantitative cytoarchitecture and multivariate statistics. In addition to borders of areas 17 and 18, subparcellations within both areas were found. The cytoarchitectonically defined areas were 3-D reconstructed and transferred into the stereotaxic space of the standard reference brain. Surface rendering of the brains revealed high individual variability in size and shape of the areas and in the relationship to the free surface and sulci. Ranges and centers of gravity of both areas were calculated in Talairach coordinates. The positions of areas 17 and 18 in the stereotaxic space differed between the hemispheres. Both areas reached significantly more caudal and medial positions on the left than on the right. Probability maps were created in which the degree of overlap in each stereotaxic position was quantified. These maps of areas 17 and 18 are the first of their kind and contain precise stereotaxic information on both interhemispheric and interindividual differences.
Copyright 2000 Academic Press.