A parcellation-based model of the auditory network

Hear Res. 2020 Oct;396:108078. doi: 10.1016/j.heares.2020.108078. Epub 2020 Sep 16.


Introduction: The auditory network plays an important role in interaction with the environment. Multiple cortical areas, such as the inferior frontal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus and adjacent insula have been implicated in this processing. However, understanding of this network's connectivity has been devoid of tractography specificity.

Methods: Using attention task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) studies, an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) of the auditory network was generated. Regions of interest corresponding to the cortical parcellation scheme previously published under the Human Connectome Project were co-registered onto the ALE in the Montreal Neurological Institute coordinate space, and visually assessed for inclusion in the network. Diffusion spectrum MRI-based fiber tractography was performed to determine the structural connections between cortical parcellations comprising the network.

Results: Fifteen cortical regions were found to be part of the auditory network: areas 44 and 8C, auditory area 1, 4, and 5, frontal operculum area 4, the lateral belt, medial belt and parabelt, parietal area F centromedian, perisylvian language area, retroinsular cortex, supplementary and cingulate eye field and the temporoparietal junction area 1. These regions showed consistent interconnections between adjacent parcellations. The frontal aslant tract was found to connect areas within the frontal lobe, while the arcuate fasciculus was found to connect the frontal and temporal lobe, and subcortical U-fibers were found to connect parcellations within the temporal area. Further studies may refine this model with the ultimate goal of clinical application.

Keywords: ALE; anatomy; auditory network; parcellation; tractography.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Auditory Cortex* / diagnostic imaging
  • Connectome*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Nerve Net
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging