Intrinsic functional architecture of the macaque dorsal and ventral lateral frontal cortex

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Journal of neurophysiology





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Investigations of the cellular and connectional organization of the lateral frontal cortex (LFC) of the macaque monkey provide indispensable knowledge for generating hypotheses about the human LFC. However, despite numerous investigations, there are still debates on the organization of this brain region. In vivo neuroimaging techniques such as resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) can be used to define the functional circuitry of brain areas, producing results largely consistent with gold-standard invasive tract-tracing techniques and offering the opportunity for cross-species comparisons within the same modality. Our results using resting-state fMRI from macaque monkeys to uncover the intrinsic functional architecture of the LFC corroborate previous findings and inform current debates. Specifically, within the dorsal LFC, we show that ) the region along the midline and anterior to the superior arcuate sulcus is divided in two areas separated by the posterior supraprincipal dimple, ) the cytoarchitectonically defined area 6DC/F2 contains two connectional divisions, and ) a distinct area occupies the cortex around the spur of the arcuate sulcus, updating what was previously proposed to be the border between dorsal and ventral motor/premotor areas. Within the ventral LFC, the derived parcellation clearly suggests the presence of distinct areas: ) an area with a somatomotor/orofacial connectional signature (putative area 44), ) an area with an oculomotor connectional signature (putative frontal eye fields), and ) premotor areas possibly hosting laryngeal and arm representations. Our results illustrate in detail the intrinsic functional architecture of the macaque LFC, thus providing valuable evidence for debates on its organization. Resting-state functional MRI is used as a complementary method to invasive techniques to inform current debates on the organization of the macaque lateral frontal cortex. Given that the macaque cortex serves as a model for the human cortex, our results help generate more fine-tuned hypothesis for the organization of the human lateral frontal cortex.