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J Neurophysiol. 2002 Sep;88(3):1400-6.

Somatosensory processing in the human inferior prefrontal cortex.

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Cognitive Neuroimaging Unit, Veterans Affairs Medical Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota 55417, USA.


Three inferior prefrontal regions in the monkey receive afferents from somatosensory cortices: the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), the ventral area of the principal sulcus, and the anterior frontal operculum. To determine whether these areas show responses to tactile stimuli in humans, we examined data from an ongoing series of PET studies of somatosensory processing. Unlike previous work showing ventral frontal activity to hedonic (pleasant/unpleasant) sensory stimulation, the tactile stimuli used in these studies had a neutral hedonic valence. Our data provide evidence for at least two discrete ventral frontal brain regions responsive to somatosensory stimulation: 1) the posterior inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) and adjacent anterior frontal operculum, and 2) the OFC. The former region (posterior IFG/anterior frontal operculum) may have a more specific role in attending to tactile stimuli.

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