The microstructural correlates of the functional segregation of the human lateral occipital cortex are largely unknown. Therefore, we analyzed the cytoarchitecture of this region in ten human post-mortem brains using an observer-independent and statistically testable parcellation method to define the position and extent of areas in the lateral occipital cortex. Two new cytoarchitectonic areas were found: an anterior area hOc4la and a posterior area hOc4lp. hOc4la was located behind the anterior occipital sulcus in rostral and ventral portions of this region where it occupies the anterior third of the middle and inferior lateral occipital gyri. hOc4lp was found in caudal and dorsal portions of this region where it extends along the superior and middle lateral occipital gyri. The cytoarchitectonic areas were registered to 3D reconstructions of the corresponding brains, which were subsequently spatially normalized to the Montreal Neurological Institute reference space. Continuous probabilistic maps of both areas based on the analysis of ten brains were generated to characterize their inter-subject variability in location and size. The maps of hOc4la and hOc4lp were then used as seeds for meta-analytic connectivity modeling and quantitative functional decoding to identify their co-activation patterns and assignment to functional domains. Convergent evidence from their location, topography, size, functional domains and connectivity indicates that hOc4la and hOc4lp are the potential anatomical correlates of the functionally defined lateral occipital areas LO-1 and LO-2.
Keywords: Brain mapping; Cytoarchitecture; Functional meta-analysis; Human visual cortex; LO-1; LO-2; Lateral occipital cortex; Probabilistic maps.