Introduction. The ventral premotor area (VPM) plays a crucial role in executing various aspects of motor control. These include hand reaching, joint coordination, and direction of movement in space. While many studies discuss the VPM and its relationship to the rest of the motor network, there is minimal literature examining the connectivity of the VPM outside of the motor network. Using region-based fMRI studies, we built a neuroanatomical model to account for these extra-motor connections.Methods. Thirty region-based fMRI studies were used to generate an activation likelihood estimation (ALE) using BrainMap software. Cortical parcellations overlapping the ALE were used to construct a preliminary model of the VPM connections outside the motor network. Diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI)-based fiber tractography was performed to determine the connectivity between cortical parcellations in both hemispheres, and a laterality index (LI) was calculated with resultant tract volumes. The resulting connections were described using the cortical parcellation scheme developed by the Human Connectome Project (HCP).Results. Four cortical regions were found to comprise the VPM. These four regions included 6v, 4, 3b, and 3a. Across mapped brains, these areas showed consistent interconnections between each other. Additionally, ipsilateral connections to the primary motor cortex, supplementary motor area, and dorsal premotor cortex were demonstrated. Inter-hemispheric asymmetries were identified, especially with areas 1, 55b, and MI connecting to the ipsilateral VPM regions.Conclusion. We describe a preliminary cortical model for the underlying connectivity of the ventral premotor area. Future studies should further characterize the neuroanatomic underpinnings of this network for neurosurgical applications.
Keywords: Connectomics; VPM; parcellation; tractography; ventral premotor.