Parcellation-based tractographic modeling of the ventral attention network

J Neurol Sci. 2020 Jan 15;408:116548. doi: 10.1016/j.jns.2019.116548. Epub 2019 Oct 24.


Introduction: The ventral attention network (VAN) is an important mediator of stimulus-driven attention. Multiple cortical areas, such as the middle and inferior frontal gyri, anterior insula, inferior parietal lobule, and temporo-parietal junction have been linked in this processing. However, knowledge of network connectivity has been devoid of structural specificity.

Methods: Using relevant task-based fMRI studies, an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) of the VAN was generated Regions of interest corresponding to the HCP cortical parcellation scheme were co-registered onto this ALE in MNI coordinate space and visually assessed for inclusion in the network. DSI-based fiber tractography was performed to determine the structural connections between cortical areas comprising the VAN.

Results: Fourteen regions within the right cerebral hemisphere were found to overlap the ALE of the VAN: 6a, 6r, 7AM, 7PM, 8C, AVI, FOP4, MIP, p9-46v, PCV, PFm, PGi, TPOJ1, and TPOJ2. Regions demonstrated consistent U-shaped interconnections between adjacent parcellations, and the SLF was found to connect frontal and parietal areas of the network.

Conclusions: We present a tractographic model of the VAN. This model comprises parcellations within the frontal and parietal cortices that are linked via the SLF. Future studies may refine this model with the ultimate goal of clinical application.

Keywords: Anatomy; Attention; Parcellation; Tractography.

MeSH terms

  • Attention / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Cerebrum / diagnostic imaging*
  • Cerebrum / physiology*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging / methods*
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Nerve Net / diagnostic imaging*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*