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Differentiated parietal connectivity of frontal regions for 'what' and 'where' memory.

Rottschy C, Caspers S, Roski C, Reetz K, Dogan I, Schulz JB, Zilles K, Laird AR, Fox PT, Eickhoff SB, Brain Struct Funct 218 (6) :1551-67 (2013).

Abstract

In a previous meta-analysis across almost 200 neuroimaging experiments, working memory for object location showed significantly stronger convergence on the posterior superior frontal gyrus, whereas working memory for identity showed stronger convergence on the posterior inferior frontal gyrus (dorsal to, but overlapping with Brodmann’s area BA 44). As similar locations have been discussed as part of a dorsal frontal-superior parietal reach system and an inferior frontal grasp system, the aim of the present study was to test whether the regions of working-memory related “what” and “where” processing show a similar distinction in parietal connectivity. The regions that were found in the previous meta-analysis were used as seeds for functional connectivity analyses using task-based meta-analytic connectivity modelling and task-independent resting state correlations. While the ventral seed showed significantly stronger connectivity with the bilateral intraparietal sulcus (IPS), the dorsal seed showed stronger connectivity with the bilateral posterior inferior parietal and the medial superior parietal lobule. The observed connections of regions involved in memory for object location and identity thus clearly demonstrate a distinction into separate pathways that resemble the parietal connectivity patterns of the dorsal and ventral premotor cortex in non-human primates and humans. It may hence be speculated that memory for a particular location and reaching towards it as well as object memory and finger positioning for manipulation may rely on shared neural systems. Moreover, the ensuing regions, in turn, featured differential connectivity with the bilateral ventral and dorsal extrastriate cortex, suggesting largely segregated bilateral connectivity pathways from the dorsal visual cortex via the superior and inferior parietal lobules to the dorsal posterior frontal cortex and from the ventral visual cortex via the IPS to the ventral posterior frontal cortex that may underlie action and cognition.