Cytology and functionally correlated circuits of human posterior cingulate areas

Neuroimage. 2006 Jan 15;29(2):452-66. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2005.07.048. Epub 2005 Sep 6.


Human posterior cingulate cortex (PCC) and retrosplenial cortex (RSC) form the posterior cingulate gyrus, however, monkey connection and human imaging studies suggest that PCC area 23 is not uniform and atlases mislocate RSC. We histologically assessed these regions in 6 postmortem cases, plotted a flat map, and characterized differences in dorsal (d) and ventral (v) area 23. Subsequently, functional connectivity of histologically guided regions of interest (ROI) were assessed in 163 [(18)F]fluorodeoxyglucose human cases with PET. Compared to area d23, area v23 had a higher density and larger pyramids in layers II, IIIc, and Vb and more intermediate neurofilament-expressing neurons in layer Va. Coregisrtration of each case to standard coordinates showed that the ventral branch of the splenial sulci coincided with the border between d/v PCC at -5.4 +/- 0.17 cm from the vertical plane and +1.97 +/- 0.08 cm from the bi-commissural line. Correlation analysis of glucose metabolism using histologically guided ROIs suggested important circuit differences including dorsal and ventral visual stream inputs, interactions between the vPCC and subgenual cingulate cortex, and preferential relations between dPCC and the cingulate motor region. The RSC, in contrast, had restricted correlated activity with pericallosal cortex and thalamus. Visual information may be processed with an orbitofrontal link for synthesis of signals to drive premotor activity through dPCC. Review of the literature in terms of a PCC duality suggests that interactions of dPCC, including area 23d, orient the body in space via the cingulate motor areas, while vPCC interacts with subgenual cortex to process self-relevant emotional and non-emotional information and objects and self-reflection.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Chemistry / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Glucose / metabolism
  • Gyrus Cinguli / cytology*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / diagnostic imaging
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Radionuclide Imaging
  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Reproducibility of Results
  • Species Specificity
  • Thalamus / cytology
  • Thalamus / physiology


  • Radiopharmaceuticals
  • Fluorodeoxyglucose F18
  • Glucose