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Functional Segregation of the Human Dorsomedial Prefrontal Cortex.

Eickhoff SB, Laird AR, Fox PT, Bzdok D, Hensel L, Cereb Cortex 26 (1) :304-21 (2016).


The human dorsomedial prefrontal cortex (dmPFC) has been implicated in various complex cognitive processes, including social cognition. To unravel its functional organization, we assessed the dmPFC’s regional heterogeneity, connectivity patterns, and functional profiles. First, the heterogeneity of a dmPFC seed, engaged during social processing, was investigated by assessing local differences in whole-brain coactivation profiles. Second, functional connectivity of the ensuing dmPFC clusters was compared by task-constrained meta-analytic coactivation mapping and task-unconstrained resting-state correlations. Third, dmPFC clusters were functionally profiled by forward/reverse inference. The dmPFC seed was thus segregated into 4 clusters (rostroventral, rostrodorsal, caudal-right, and caudal-left). Both rostral clusters were connected to the amygdala and hippocampus and associated with memory and social cognitive tasks in functional decoding. The rostroventral cluster exhibited strongest connectivity to the default mode network. Unlike the rostral segregation, the caudal dmPFC was divided by hemispheres. The caudal-right cluster was strongly connected to a frontoparietal network (dorsal attention network), whereas the caudal-left cluster was strongly connected to the anterior midcingulate cortex and bilateral anterior insula (salience network). In conclusion, we demonstrate that a dmPFC seed reflecting social processing can be divided into 4 separate functional modules that contribute to distinct facets of advanced human cognition.