Graded functional organization in the left inferior frontal gyrus: evidence from task-free and task-based functional connectivity

Diveica V, Riedel MC, Salo T, Laird AR, Jackson RL, Binney RJ, Cereb Cortex 33 (23) :11384-11399 (2023).


The left inferior frontal gyrus has been ascribed key roles in numerous cognitive domains, such as language and executive function. However, its functional organization is unclear. Possibilities include a singular domain-general function, or multiple functions that can be mapped onto distinct subregions. Furthermore, spatial transition in function may be either abrupt or graded. The present study explored the topographical organization of the left inferior frontal gyrus using a bimodal data-driven approach. We extracted functional connectivity gradients from (i) resting-state fMRI time-series and (ii) coactivation patterns derived meta-analytically from heterogenous sets of task data. We then sought to characterize the functional connectivity differences underpinning these gradients with seed-based resting-state functional connectivity, meta-analytic coactivation modeling and functional decoding analyses. Both analytic approaches converged on graded functional connectivity changes along 2 main organizational axes. An anterior-posterior gradient shifted from being preferentially associated with high-level control networks (anterior functional connectivity) to being more tightly coupled with perceptually driven networks (posterior). A second dorsal-ventral axis was characterized by higher connectivity with domain-general control networks on one hand (dorsal functional connectivity), and with the semantic network, on the other (ventral). These results provide novel insights into an overarching graded functional organization of the functional connectivity that explains its role in multiple cognitive domains.