Mapping auditory core, lateral belt, and parabelt cortices in the human superior temporal gyrus

J Comp Neurol. 2005 Oct 24;491(3):270-89. doi: 10.1002/cne.20702.


The goal of the present study was to determine whether the architectonic criteria used to identify the core, lateral belt, and parabelt auditory cortices in macaque monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) could be used to identify homologous regions in humans (Homo sapiens). Current evidence indicates that auditory cortex in humans, as in monkeys, is located on the superior temporal gyrus (STG), and is functionally and structurally altered in illnesses such as schizophrenia and Alzheimer's disease. In this study, we used serial sets of adjacent sections processed for Nissl substance, acetylcholinesterase, and parvalbumin to identify the distinguishing cyto- and chemoarchitectonic features of the core, lateral belt, and parabelt in monkey. These criteria were evaluated in postmortem tissue from a human subject, leading to the identification of additional criteria specific to human. The criteria were validated in an additional set of eight human subjects. Regions were delineated and their volumes estimated using the Cavalieri method in these subjects, and the sources of methodologic contribution to variability of the estimates was assessed. Serial reconstructions of the auditory cortex in humans were made showing the location of the lateral belt and parabelt with respect to gross anatomical landmarks. Architectonic criteria for the core, lateral belt, and parabelt were readily adapted from monkey to human. Additionally, we found evidence for an architectonic subdivision within the parabelt, present in both species. Variability of regional volume estimates was readily constrained using a multifaceted approach to reduce potential sources of variability in regional delineation.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Auditory Cortex / metabolism
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase / metabolism
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Immunohistochemistry / methods
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Parvalbumins / metabolism
  • Postmortem Changes
  • Signal Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Staining and Labeling / methods


  • Parvalbumins
  • Choline O-Acetyltransferase