Morphological and functional variability in central and subcentral motor cortex of the human brain.
Eichert N., Watkins KE., Mars RB., Petrides M.
There is a long-established link between anatomy and function in the somatomotor system in the mammalian cerebral cortex. The morphology of the central sulcus is predictive of the location of functional activation peaks relating to movement of different effectors in individuals. By contrast, morphological variation in the subcentral region and its relationship to function is, as yet, unknown. Investigating the subcentral region is particularly important in the context of speech, since control of the larynx during human speech production is related to activity in this region. Here, we examined the relationship between morphology in the central and subcentral region and the location of functional activity during movement of the hand, lips, tongue, and larynx at the individual participant level. We provide a systematic description of the sulcal patterns of the subcentral and adjacent opercular cortex, including the inter-individual variability in sulcal morphology. We show that, in the majority of participants, the anterior subcentral sulcus is not continuous, but consists of two distinct segments. A robust relationship between morphology of the central and subcentral sulcal segments and movement of different effectors is demonstrated. Inter-individual variability of underlying anatomy might thus explain previous inconsistent findings, in particular regarding the ventral larynx area in subcentral cortex. A surface registration based on sulcal labels indicated that such anatomical information can improve the alignment of functional data for group studies.