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Neuroimage. 2012 Feb 15;59(4):3548-62. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2011.11.023. Epub 2011 Nov 12.

Functional connectivity mapping of the human precuneus by resting state fMRI.

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Department of Psychiatry, Yale University, New Haven, CT 06519, United States.


Precuneus responds to a wide range of cognitive processes. Here, we examined how the patterns of resting state connectivity may define functional subregions in the precuneus. Using a K-means algorithm to cluster the whole-brain "correlograms" of the precuneus in 225 adult individuals, we corroborated the dorsal-anterior, dorsal-posterior, and ventral subregions, each involved in spatially guided behaviors, mental imagery, and episodic memory as well as self-related processing, with the ventral precuneus being part of the default mode network, as described extensively in earlier work. Furthermore, we showed that the lateral/medial volumes of dorsal anterior and dorsal posterior precuneus are each connected with areas of motor execution/attention and motor/visual imagery, respectively. Compared to the ventral precuneus, the dorsal precuneus showed greater connectivity with occipital and posterior parietal cortices, but less connectivity with the medial superior frontal and orbitofrontal gyri, anterior cingulate cortex as well as the parahippocampus. Compared to dorsal-posterior and ventral precuneus, the dorsal-anterior precuneus showed greater connectivity with the somatomotor cortex, as well as the insula, supramarginal, Heschl's, and superior temporal gyri, but less connectivity with the angular gyrus. Compared to ventral and dorsal-anterior precuneus, dorsal-posterior precuneus showed greater connectivity with the middle frontal gyrus. Notably, the precuneus as a whole has negative connectivity with the amygdala and the lateral and inferior orbital frontal gyri. Finally, men and women differed in the connectivity of precuneus. Men and women each showed greater connectivity with the dorsal precuneus in the cuneus and medial thalamus, respectively. Women also showed greater connectivity with ventral precuneus in the hippocampus/parahippocampus, middle/anterior cingulate gyrus, and middle occipital gyrus, compared to men. Taken together, these new findings may provide a useful platform upon which to further investigate sex-specific functional neuroanatomy of the precuneus and to elucidate the pathology of many neurological illnesses.

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