The human ventromedial prefrontal cortex: sulcal morphology and its influence on functional organization.
Lopez-Persem A., Verhagen L., Amiez C., Petrides M., Sallet J.
The ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), which comprises several distinct cytoarchitectonic areas, is a key brain region supporting decision-making processes and it has been shown to be one of the main hubs of the Default Mode Network, a network classically activated during resting state. We here examined the inter-individual variability in the vmPFC sulcal morphology in 57 humans (37 females) and demonstrated that the presence/absence of the inferior rostral sulcus and the subgenual intralimbic sulcus influences significantly the sulcal organization of this region. Furthermore, the sulcal organization influences the location of the vmPFC peak of the Default Mode Network, demonstrating that the location of functional activity can be affected by local sulcal patterns. These results are critical for the investigation of the function of the vmPFC and show that taking into account the sulcal variability might be essential to guide the interpretation of neuroimaging studies.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENTThe ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC) is one of the main hubs of the Default Mode Network and plays a central role in value coding and decision-making. The present study provides a complete description of the inter-individual variability of anatomical morphology of this large portion of prefrontal cortex and its relation to functional organization. We have shown that two supplementary medial sulci predominantly determine the organization of the vmPFC, which in turn affect the location of the functional peak of activity in this region. Those results show that taking into account the variability in sulcal patterns might be essential to guide the interpretation of neuroimaging studies of the human brain and of the vmPFC in particular.