Distinct parietal and temporal connectivity profiles of ventrolateral frontal areas involved in language production.
Margulies DS., Petrides M.
Broca's region, which in the language-dominant hemisphere of the human brain plays a major role in language production, includes two distinct cytoarchitectonic areas: 44 and 45. The unique connectivity patterns of these two areas have not been well established. In a resting-state functional connectivity study, we tested predictions about these areas from invasive tract-tracing studies of the connectivity of their homologs in the macaque monkey. We demonstrated their distinct connectivity profiles as well as their differences from the caudally adjacent ventral parts of the premotor cortex and the primary motor cortical region that represent the orofacial musculature. Area 45 is strongly connected with the superior temporal sulcus and the cortex on the adjacent superior and middle temporal gyri. In the parietal region, area 45 is connected with the angular gyrus, whereas area 44 is connected with the supramarginal gyrus. The primary motor cortical region in the caudal precentral gyrus is not connected with the posterior parietal region, which lies outside the confines of the postcentral gyrus, whereas the ventrorostral premotor cortical area 6VR, in the most anterior part of the precentral gyrus, has strong connections with the rostral supramarginal gyrus. Thus, area 44, which has stronger connections to the posterior supramarginal gyrus, can be distinguished from both the adjacent area 6VR and area 45. These findings provide a major improvement in understanding the connectivity of the areas in the ventrolateral frontal region that are involved in language production.