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Subdivisions and connectional networks of the lateral prefrontal cortex in the macaque monkey

Saleem, KS;Miller, B;Price, JL;

Neuroanatomical studies have long indicated that corticocortical connections are organized in networks that relate distinct sets of areas. Such networks have been emphasized by development of functional imaging methods for correlating activity across the cortex. Previously, two networks were recognized in the orbitomedial prefrontal cortex, the orbital and medial networks (OPFC and MPFC, respectively). In this study, three additional networks are proposed for the lateral prefrontal cortex: 1) a ventrolateral network (VLPFC) in and ventral to the principal sulcus; 2) a dorsal network (DPFC) in and dorsal to the principal sulcus and in the frontal pole; 3) a caudolateral network (CLPFC) in and rostral to the arcuate sulcus and the caudal principal sulcus. The connections of the first two networks are described here. Areas in each network are connected primarily with other areas in the same network, with overlaps around the principal sulcus. The VLPFC and DPFC are also connected with the OPFC and MPFC, respectively. Outside the prefrontal cortex, the VLPFC connects with specific areas related to somatic/visceral sensation and vision, in the frontoparietal operculum, insula, ventral bank/fundus of the superior temporal sulcus, inferior temporal gyrus, and inferior parietal cortex. In contrast, the DPFC connects with the rostral superior temporal gyrus, dorsal bank of the superior temporal sulcus, parahippocampal cortex, and posterior cingulate and retrosplenial cortex. Area 45a, in caudal VLPFC, is unique, having connections with all the networks. Its extrinsic connections resemble those of the DPFC. In addition, it has connections with both auditory belt/parabelt areas, and visual related areas.