Specific somatotopic organization of functional connections of the primary motor network during resting state

  • Van Den Heuvel M
  • Pol H
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Regions of the primary motor network are known to show a high level of spontaneous functional connectivity during rest. Resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) studies have reported the left and right motor cortex to form a single resting-state network, without examining the specific organization of the functional connections between subregions of the primary motor network. The primary motor cortex has a somatotopic organization, clearly separating regions that control our feet from regions that control our fingers and other body parts. In this study, 3 T resting-state fMRI time-series of 46 healthy subjects were acquired; and for all subregions along the precentral gyrus, the location of the maximum level of functional connectivity within the contralateral primary motor cortex was computed, together with whole brain functional connectivity maps, to examine a possible somatotopic organization of the functional connections of the motor network. Subregions of the primary motor cortex were found to be most strongly functionally linked to regions in the contralateral hemisphere with a similar spatial location along the contralateral primary motor cortex as the selected seed regions. On the basis of the knowledge of a somatopic organization of the primary motor network, these findings suggest that functional subregions of the motor network are one-on-one linked to their functional homolog in the contralateral hemisphere and organized in a somatotopic fashion. Examining the specific organization of the functional connections within the primary motor network could enhance our overall understanding of the organization of resting-state functional communication within the brain.

Author-supplied keywords

  • Connectivity
  • Functional connectivity
  • Homunculus
  • Primary motor cortex
  • Resting-state connectivity
  • Resting-state fMRI
  • Somatotopic organization
  • fMRI

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  • Martijn P. Van Den Heuvel

  • Hilleke E.Hulshoff Pol

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