Cortical network for gaze control in humans revealed using multimodal MRI.
Functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) techniques allow definition of cortical nodes that are presumed to be components of large-scale distributed brain networks involved in cognitive processes. However, very few investigations examine whether such functionally defined areas are in fact structurally connected. Here, we used combined fMRI and diffusion MRI-based tractography to define the cortical network involved in saccadic eye movement control in humans. The results of this multimodal imaging approach demonstrate white matter pathways connecting the frontal eye fields and supplementary eye fields, consistent with the known connectivity of these regions in macaque monkeys. Importantly, however, these connections appeared to be more prominent in the right hemisphere of humans. In addition, there was evidence of a dorsal frontoparietal pathway connecting the frontal eye field and the inferior parietal lobe, also right hemisphere dominant, consistent with specialization of the right hemisphere for directed attention in humans. These findings demonstrate the utility and potential of using multimodal imaging techniques to define large-scale distributed brain networks, including those that demonstrate known hemispheric asymmetries in humans.