Despite their potential utility in clinical and research settings, the range of intra- and interindividual variations in size and location of cytoarchitectonically defined human primary auditory cortex (PAC) is largely unknown. This study demonstrates that gyral patterns and the size and location of PAC vary independently to a considerable degree. Thus, the cytoarchitectonic borders of PAC cannot be reliably inferred from macroscopic-MR visible-anatomy. Given the remarkable topographical variability of architectonic areal borders, standard brain mapping which is made solely on the basis of macroanatomic landmarks may lead to structural-functional mismatch. Consequently, interpretations of individual auditory activity patterns might often be inaccurate. In view of the anatomic discrepancies, we generated probability maps of PAC in which the degree of intersubject overlap in each stereotaxic position was quantified. These maps show that the location of PAC in Talairach space differs considerably between hemispheres and individuals. In contrast to earlier cytoarchitectonic work which is based in most cases on studies of single brains, our systematic approach provides extensive microanatomic data as a reference system for studies of human auditory function.
Copyright 2001 Academic Press.