The organization of the human striatum estimated by intrinsic functional connectivity

J Neurophysiol. 2012 Oct;108(8):2242-63. doi: 10.1152/jn.00270.2012. Epub 2012 Jul 25.


The striatum is connected to the cerebral cortex through multiple anatomical loops that process sensory, limbic, and heteromodal information. Tract-tracing studies in the monkey reveal that these corticostriatal connections form stereotyped patterns in the striatum. Here the organization of the striatum was explored in the human with resting-state functional connectivity MRI (fcMRI). Data from 1,000 subjects were registered with nonlinear deformation of the striatum in combination with surface-based alignment of the cerebral cortex. fcMRI maps derived from seed regions placed in the foot and tongue representations of the motor cortex yielded the expected inverted somatotopy in the putamen. fcMRI maps derived from the supplementary motor area were located medially to the primary motor representation, also consistent with anatomical studies. The topography of the complete striatum was estimated and replicated by assigning each voxel in the striatum to its most strongly correlated cortical network in two independent groups of 500 subjects. The results revealed at least five cortical zones in the striatum linked to sensorimotor, premotor, limbic, and two association networks with a topography globally consistent with monkey anatomical studies. The majority of the human striatum was coupled to cortical association networks. Examining these association networks further revealed details that fractionated the five major networks. The resulting estimates of striatal organization provide a reference for exploring how the striatum contributes to processing motor, limbic, and heteromodal information through multiple large-scale corticostriatal circuits.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebral Cortex / physiology*
  • Corpus Striatum / anatomy & histology
  • Corpus Striatum / physiology*
  • Female
  • Foot / innervation
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Tongue / innervation