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A map of the human neocortex showing the estimated overall myelin content of the individual architectonic areas based on the studies of Adolf Hopf

Publication year 2017
Published in Brain Structure & Function
Authors R. Nieuwenhuys, Cees A J Broere

During the period extending from 1910 to 1970, Oscar and Cécile Vogt and their numerous collaborators published a large number of myeloarchitectonic studies on the cortex of the various lobes of the human cerebrum. In a previous publication [Nieuwenhuys et al (Brain Struct Funct 220:2551-2573, 2015; Erratum in Brain Struct Funct 220: 3753-3755, 2015)], we used the data provided by the Vogt-Vogt school for the composition of a myeloarchitectonic map of the entire human neocortex. Because these data were derived from many different brains, a standard brain had to be introduced to which all data available could be transferred. As such the Colin 27 structural scan, aligned to the MNI305 template was selected. The resultant map includes 180 myeloarchitectonic areas, 64 frontal, 30 parietal, 6 insular, 17 occipital and 63 temporal. Here we present a supplementary map in which the overall density of the myelinated fibers in the individual architectonic areas is indicated, based on a meta-analysis of data provided by Adolf Hopf, a prominent collaborator of the Vogts. This map shows that the primary sensory and motor regions are densely myelinated and that, in general, myelination decreases stepwise with the distance from these primary regions. The map also reveals the presence of a number of heavily myelinated formations, situated beyond the primary sensory and motor domains, each consisting of two or more myeloarchitectonic areas. These formations were provisionally designated as the orbitofrontal, intraparietal, posterolateral temporal, and basal temporal dark clusters. Recently published MRI-based in vivo myelin content mappings show, with regard to the primary sensory and motor regions, a striking concordance with our map. As regards the heavily myelinated clusters shown by our map, scrutiny of the current literature revealed that correlates of all of these clusters have been identified in in vivo structural MRI studies and appear to correspond either entirely or largely to known cytoarchitectonic entities. Moreover, functional neuroimaging studies indicate that all of these clusters are involved in vision-related cognitive functions.

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