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Cereb Cortex. 2008 Sep;18(9):2141-57. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhm241. Epub 2008 Jan 31.

Probabilistic maps, morphometry, and variability of cytoarchitectonic areas in the human superior parietal cortex.

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Institute of Medicine, Research Center Jülich, D-52425 Jülich, Germany.


Recently, 8 areas (5Ci, 5M, 5L, 7PC, 7A, 7P, 7M, hIP3) in the human superior parietal cortex (SPC) were delineated in 10 postmortem brains using observer-independent cytoarchitectonic analysis. Here we present 3D probabilistic maps of these areas, quantifying the interindividual overlap for each voxel in stereotaxic reference space, and a maximum probability map, providing a contiguous parcellation. For all areas, we determined probabilities of mutual borders, calculated stereotaxic centers of gravity, and estimated volumes. A basic pattern of areas and borders was observed, which showed, however, intersubject variations and a significant interhemispheric asymmetry (7P, 7M) that may be functionally relevant. There was a trend toward higher intersubject anatomical variability in lateral compared with medial areas. For several areas (5M, 7PC, 7A, 7P), variability was significantly higher in the left hemisphere and/or in men, whereas for areas 5Ci and 5M there was a hemisphere-by-gender interaction. Differences in anatomical variability could bias group analyses in functional imaging studies by reducing sensitivity for activations of entities with high variability. The probabilistic maps provide an objective anatomical reference and account for the structural variability of the human brain. Integrated into functional imaging experiments, they can improve structure-function investigations of the human SPC.

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