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Neuroimage. 1999 Nov;10(5):500-19.

Human frontal cortex: an MRI-based parcellation method.

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  • 1Department of Psychiatry, University of Iowa Hospitals & Clinics, Iowa City, Iowa, USA.


The frontal lobe is not a single anatomical and functional brain region. Several lines of research have demonstrated that particular subregions within the frontal lobe are associated with specific motor and cognitive functions in the human being. Our main purpose is to develop a magnetic resonance image (MRI)-based parcellation method of the frontal lobe that permits us to explore plausible abnormalities in functionally relevant frontal subregions in brain illnesses. We describe a procedure using MRI for subdividing the entire frontal cortex into 11 subregions: supplementary motor area (SMA), rostral anterior cingulate gyrus (r-ACiG), caudal anterior cingulate gyrus (c-ACiG), superior cingulate gyrus (SCiG), medial frontal cortex (MFC), straight gyrus (SG), orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), precentral gyrus (PCG), superior frontal gyrus (SFG), inferior frontal gyrus (IFG), and middle frontal gyrus (MFG). Our method posits to conserve the topographic uniqueness of individual brains and is based on our ability to visualize both the three-dimensional (3D) rendered brain and the three orthogonal planes simultaneously. The reliability study for gray matter volume and surface area of each subregion was performed on a set of 10 MR scans by two raters. The intraclass R coefficients for gray matter volume of each subregion ranged between 0.86 and 0.99. We describe here a reproducible and reliable topography-based parcellation method of the frontal lobe that will allow us to use new approaches to understand the role of particular frontal cortical subregions in schizophrenia and other brain illnesses.

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