Microstructural Parcellation of the Human Cerebral Cortex - From Brodmann's Post-Mortem Map to in vivo Mapping with High-Field Magnetic Resonance Imaging

Front Hum Neurosci. 2011 Feb 18;5:19. doi: 10.3389/fnhum.2011.00019. eCollection 2011.


The year 2009 marked the 100th anniversary of the publication of the famous brain map of Korbinian Brodmann. Although a "classic" guide to microanatomical parcellation of the cerebral cortex, it is - from today's state-of-the-art neuroimaging perspective - problematic to use Brodmann's map as a structural guide to functional units in the cortex. In this article we discuss some of the reasons, especially the problematic compatibility of the "post-mortem world" of microstructural brain maps with the "in vivo world" of neuroimaging. We conclude with some prospects for the future of in vivo structural brain mapping: a new approach which has the enormous potential to make direct correlations between microstructure and function in living human brains: "in vivo Brodmann mapping" with high-field magnetic resonance imaging.

Keywords: brain map; cortical areas; cytoarchitecture; myeloarchitecture; quantitative T1 map.