Quantifying agreement between anatomical and functional interhemispheric correspondences in the resting brain

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e48847. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0048847. Epub 2012 Nov 8.


The human brain is composed of two broadly symmetric cerebral hemispheres, with an abundance of reciprocal anatomical connections between homotopic locations. However, to date, studies of hemispheric symmetries have not identified correspondency precisely due to variable cortical folding patterns. Here we present a method to establish accurate correspondency using position on the unfolded cortical surface relative to gyral and sulcal landmarks. The landmark method is shown to outperform the method of reversing standard volume coordinates, and it is used to quantify the functional symmetry in resting fMRI data throughout the cortex. Resting brain activity was found to be maximally correlated with locations less than 1 cm away on the cortical surface from the corresponding anatomical location in nearly half of the cortex. While select locations exhibited asymmetric patterns, precise symmetric relationships were found to be the norm, with fine-grained symmetric functional maps demonstrated in motor, occipital, and inferior frontal cortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Brain / physiology
  • Brain Mapping / methods*
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male