Anatomical and functional connectivity of cytoarchitectonic areas within the human parietal operculum

J Neurosci. 2010 May 5;30(18):6409-21. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.5664-09.2010.


In monkeys, the somatosensory cortex on the parietal operculum can be differentiated into several distinct cortical fields. Potential human homologues for these areas have already been defined by cytoarchitectonic mapping and functional imaging experiments. Differences between the two most widely studied areas [operculum parietale (OP) 1 and OP 4] within this region particularly pertain to their connection with either the perceptive parietal network or the frontal motor areas. In the present study, we investigated differences in anatomical connection patterns probed by probabilistic tractography on diffusion tensor imaging data. Functional connectivity was then mapped by coordinate-based meta-analysis of imaging studies. Comparison between these two aspects of connectivity showed a good congruency and hence converging evidence for an involvement of these areas in matching brain networks. There were, however, also several instances in which anatomical and functional connectivity diverged, underlining the independence of these measures and the need for multimodal characterization of brain connectivity. The connectivity analyses performed showed that the two largest areas within the human parietal operculum region display considerable differences in their connectivity to frontoparietal brain regions. In particular, relative to OP 1, area OP 4 is more closely integrated with areas responsible for basic sensorimotor processing and action control, while OP 1 is more closely connected to the parietal networks for higher order somatosensory processing. These results are largely congruent with data on nonhuman primates. Differences between anatomical and functional connectivity as well as between species, however, highlight the need for an integrative view on connectivity, including comparison and cross-validation of results from different approaches.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Databases, Factual
  • Female
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways* / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways* / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe* / anatomy & histology
  • Parietal Lobe* / physiology