, Volume 133, Issue 1, pp 55-65
Date: 10 May 2000

Functional connectivity of the anterior cingulate cortex within the human frontal lobe: a brain-mapping meta-analysis

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Abstract.

A database of positron-emission-tomography studies published between January 1993 and November 1996 was created to address several questions regarding the function and connectivity of the human anterior cingulate cortex (ACC). Using this database, we have previously reported on the relationship between behavioural variables and the probability of blood-flow response in distinct subdivisions of the ACC. The goal of the current analysis was to discover which areas of the frontal cortex show increased blood-flow co-occurring consistently with increased blood-flow in the ACC. Analyses of the frequency distributions of peaks in the ACC and the remaining frontal cortex (FC) yielded several important findings. First, FC peaks in the precentral gyrus, superior frontal gyrus, middle frontal gyrus, inferior frontal gyrus, medial frontal gyrus and orbitomedial frontal gyri were more frequent in subtractions that also yielded a peak in the ACC than in those that did not yield an ACC peak. Second, regional differences in the frequency distribution of these FC peaks were observed when the ACC peaks were subdivided into the rostral versus caudal ACC and supracallosal versus subcallosal ACC. Peaks in the precentral gyrus and in the vicinity of the supplementary motor area were more prevalent in subtractions with co-occurring peaks in the caudal than with the rostral ACC. Peaks in the middle frontal gyrus were more frequent in subtractions with co-occurring peaks in the paralimbic part of the supracallosal ACC, relative to the subcallosal or limbic supracallosal ACC. These observations are consistent with known differences in the anatomic connectivity in these cortical regions, as defined in non-human primates. Further analyses of the influence of behavioural variables on the relationships between the ACC and other regions of the frontal cortex suggested that this type of meta-analysis may provide testable hypotheses about functional and effective connectivity within the human frontal lobe.