Cerebral cortex: a topographic segmentation method using magnetic resonance imaging

Psychiatry Res. 2000 Dec 4;100(2):97-126. doi: 10.1016/s0925-4927(00)00072-x.


Remarkable developments in magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) technology provide a broad range of potential applications to explore in vivo morphological characteristics of the human cerebral cortex. MR-based parcellation methods of the cerebral cortex may clarify the structural anomalies in specific brain subregions that reflect underlying neuropathological processes in brain illnesses. The present study describes detailed guidelines for the parcellation of the cerebral cortex into 41 subregions. Our method conserves the topographic uniqueness of individual brains and is based on our ability to visualize the three orthogonal planes, the triangulated gray matter isosurface and the three-dimensional (3D) rendered brain simultaneously. Based upon topographic landmarks of individual sulci, every subregion was manually segmented on a set of serial coronal or transaxial slices consecutively. The reliability study indicated that the cerebral cortex could be parcelled reliably; intraclass correlation coefficients for each subregion ranged from 0.60 to 0.99. The validity of the method is supported by the fact that gyral subdivisions are similar to regions delineated in functional imaging studies conducted in our center. Ultimately, this method will permit us to detect subtle morphometric impairments or to find abnormal patterns of functional activation in circumscribed cortical subregions. The description of a thorough map of regional structural and functional cortical abnormalities will provide further insight into the role that different subregions play in the pathophysiology of brain illnesses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Occipital Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology