Segregation of Somatosensory Activation in the Human Rolandic Cortex Using fMRI

Christopher I. Moore, Chantal E. Stern, Suzanne Corkin, Bruce Fischl, Annette C. Gray, Bruce R. Rosen, Anders M. Dale
2000 Journal of Neurophysiology  
Segregation of somatosensory activation in the human Rolandic cortex using fMRI. J Neurophysiol 84: 558 -569, 2000. The segregation of sensory information into distinct cortical areas is an important organizational feature of mammalian sensory systems. Here, we provide functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) evidence for the functional delineation of somatosensory representations in the human central sulcus region. Data were collected with a 3-Tesla scanner during two stimulation
more » ... a punctate tactile condition without a kinesthetic/motor component, and a kinesthetic/motor condition without a punctate tactile component. With three-dimensional (3-D) anatomical reconstruction techniques, we analyzed data in individual subjects, using the pattern of activation and the anatomical position of specific cortical areas to guide the analysis. As a complimentary analysis, we used a brain averaging technique that emphasized the similarity of cortical features in the morphing of individual subjects and thereby minimized the distortion of the location of cortical activation sites across individuals. A primary finding of this study was differential activation of the cortex on the fundus of the central sulcus, the position of area 3a, during the two tasks. Punctate tactile stimulation of the palm, administered at 3 Hz with a 5.88 von Frey filament, activated discrete regions within the precentral (PreCG) and postcentral (PoCG) gyri, corresponding to areas 6, 3b, 1, and 2, but did not activate area 3a. Conversely, kinesthetic/motor stimulation, 3-Hz flexion and extension of the digits, activated area 3a, the PreCG (areas 6 and 4), and the PoCG (areas 3b, 1, and 2). These activation patterns were observed in individual subjects and in the averaged data, providing strong evidence for the existence of a distinct representation within area 3a in humans. The percentage signal changes in the PreCG and PoCG regions activated by tactile stimulation, and in the intervening gap region, support this functional dissociation. In addition to this distinction within the fundus of the central sulcus, the combination of high-resolution imaging and 3-D analysis techniques permitted localization of activation within areas 6, 4, 3a, 3b, 1, and 2 in the human. With the exception of area 4, which showed inconsistent activation during punctate tactile stimulation, activation in these areas in the human consistently paralleled the pattern of activity observed in previous studies of monkey cortex. Address for reprint requests: C. I. Moore, NE20-329, Massachusetts Institute of Technology,
doi:10.1152/jn.2000.84.1.558 pmid:10899227 fatcat:36nixl44dzgufdpj2djyjjfzqi