The parietal opercular auditory-sensorimotor network in musicians: A resting-state fMRI study

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HighlightsMusicians have enhanced connectivity of the auditory-sensorimotor network.The parietal operculum connects the auditory, somatosensory, and motor areas.The enhancement of the functional connectivity is left-lateralized.This network may facilitate auditory-sensorimotor control of musical performance.Auditory-sensorimotor coupling is critical for musical performance, during which auditory and somatosensory feedback signals are used to ensure desired outputs. Previous studies reported opercular activation in subjects performing or listening to music. A functional connectivity analysis suggested the parietal operculum (PO) as a connector hub that links auditory, somatosensory, and motor cortical areas. We therefore examined whether this PO network differs between musicians and non-musicians. We analyzed resting-state PO functional connectivity with Heschl’s gyrus (HG), the planum temporale (PT), the precentral gyrus (preCG), and the postcentral gyrus (postCG) in 35 musicians and 35 non-musicians. In musicians, the left PO exhibited increased functional connectivity with the ipsilateral HG, PT, preCG, and postCG, whereas the right PO exhibited enhanced functional connectivity with the contralateral HG, preCG, and postCG and the ipsilateral postCG. Direct functional connectivity between an auditory area (the HG or PT) and a sensorimotor area (the preCG or postCG) did not significantly differ between the groups. The PO’s functional connectivity with auditory and sensorimotor areas is enhanced in musicians relative to non-musicians. We propose that the PO network facilitates musical performance by mediating multimodal integration for modulating auditory-sensorimotor control.

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