Laminar profiles of functional activity in the human brain

Neuroimage. 2007 Jan 1;34(1):74-84. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2006.08.020. Epub 2006 Sep 29.


Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) data were obtained in human visual cortex using sub-millimeter voxels at a field strength of 3 T. Reliable functional signals were largely confined to the gray matter and these responses measure the retinotopic organization of visual cortex. Functional signals were further characterized with respect to their laminar position within the cortical gray matter. The laminar response profiles during our visuospatial attention task, normalized for cortical thickness, had a stereotypical shape, with a peak in the superficial gray matter and declining in the deeper layers. The thickness of the sheet producing functional signals was in excellent agreement with the estimated structural thickness of the gray matter throughout early visual cortex (error < 0.5 mm). Thickness measurements were highly repeatable from session-to-session (error < 0.4 mm). Hence, it is feasible and useful to use high-resolution fMRI to measure laminar activity profiles. The ability to distinguish signals arising in different lamina has significant potential scientific and clinical applications.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Brain / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*