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PLoS One. 2010 Sep 30;5(9). pii: e13107. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0013107.

Functional connectivity of the posteromedial cortex.

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CCS fMRI, Koelliker Hospital, Turin, Italy.


As different areas within the PMC have different connectivity patterns with various cortical and subcortical regions, we hypothesized that distinct functional modules may be present within the PMC. Because the PMC appears to be the most active region during resting state, it has been postulated to play a fundamental role in the control of baseline brain functioning within the default mode network (DMN). Therefore one goal of this study was to explore which components of the PMC are specifically involved in the DMN. In a sample of seventeen healthy volunteers, we performed an unsupervised voxelwise ROI-based clustering based on resting state functional connectivity. Our results showed four clusters with different network connectivity. Each cluster showed positive and negative correlations with cortical regions involved in the DMN. Progressive shifts in PMC functional connectivity emerged from anterior to posterior and from dorsal to ventral ROIs. Ventral posterior portions of PMC were found to be part of a network implicated in the visuo-spatial guidance of movements, whereas dorsal anterior portions of PMC were interlinked with areas involved in attentional control. Ventral retrosplenial PMC selectively correlated with a network showing considerable overlap with the DMN, indicating that it makes essential contributions in self-referential processing, including autobiographical memory processing. Finally, ventral posterior PMC was shown to be functionally connected with a visual network.The paper represents the first attempt to provide a systematic, unsupervised, voxelwise clustering of the human posteromedial cortex (PMC), using resting-state functional connectivity data. Moreover, a ROI-based parcellation was used to confirm the results.

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