Meta-analytic connectivity modeling reveals differential functional connectivity of the medial and lateral orbitofrontal cortex

Cereb Cortex. 2014 Jan;24(1):232-48. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhs308. Epub 2012 Oct 4.


The orbitofrontal cortex (OFC) is implicated in a broad range of behaviors and neuropsychiatric disorders. Anatomical tracing studies in nonhuman primates reveal differences in connectivity across subregions of the OFC, but data on the connectivity of the human OFC remain limited. We applied meta-analytic connectivity modeling in order to examine which brain regions are most frequently coactivated with the medial and lateral portions of the OFC in published functional neuroimaging studies. The analysis revealed a clear divergence in the pattern of connectivity for the medial OFC (mOFC) and lateral OFC (lOFC) regions. The lOFC showed coactivations with a network of prefrontal regions and areas involved in cognitive functions including language and memory. In contrast, the mOFC showed connectivity with default mode, autonomic, and limbic regions. Convergent patterns of coactivations were observed in the amygdala, hippocampus, striatum, and thalamus. A small number of regions showed connectivity specific to the anterior or posterior sectors of the OFC. Task domains involving memory, semantic processing, face processing, and reward were additionally analyzed in order to identify the different patterns of OFC functional connectivity associated with specific cognitive and affective processes. These data provide a framework for understanding the human OFC's position within widespread functional networks.

Keywords: fMRI; network; orbital frontal; ventrolateral prefrontal; ventromedial prefrontal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping
  • Discrimination, Psychological / physiology
  • Face
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Likelihood Functions
  • Memory / physiology
  • Meta-Analysis as Topic
  • Models, Neurological*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*
  • Psychomotor Performance / physiology
  • Recognition, Psychology
  • Reward
  • Semantics