The heterogeneity of the left dorsal premotor cortex evidenced by multimodal connectivity-based parcellation and functional characterization

Genon S, Reid A, Li H, Fan L, Muller VI, Cieslik EC, Hoffstaedter F, Langner R, Grefkes C, Laird AR, Fox PT, Jiang T, Amunts K, Eickhoff SB, Neuroimage (2017).


Despite the common conception of the dorsal premotor cortex (PMd) as a single brain region, its diverse connectivity profiles and behavioral heterogeneity argue for a differentiated organization of the PMd. A previous study revealed that the right PMd is characterized by a rostro-caudal and a ventro-dorsal distinction dividing it into five subregions: rostral, central, caudal, ventral and dorsal. The present study assessed whether a similar organization is present in the left hemisphere, by capitalizing on a multimodal data-driven approach combining connectivity-based parcellation (CBP) based on meta-analytic modeling, resting-state functional connectivity, and probabilistic diffusion tractography. The resulting PMd modules were then characterized based on multimodal functional connectivity and a quantitative analysis of associated behavioral functions. Analyzing the clusters consistent across all modalities revealed an organization of the left PMd that mirrored its right counterpart to a large degree. Again, caudal, central and rostral modules reflected a cognitive-motor gradient and a premotor eye-field was found in the ventral part of the left PMd. In addition, a distinct module linked to abstract cognitive functions was observed in the rostro-ventral left PMd across all CBP modalities, implying greater differentiation of higher cognitive functions for the left than the right PMd.