Individual Differences in the Alignment of Structural and Functional Markers of the V5/MT Complex in Primates

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Abstract

Extrastriate visual area V5/MT in primates is defined both structurally by myeloarchitecture and functionally by distinct responses to visual motion. Myelination is directly identifiable from postmortem histology but also indirectly by image contrast with structural magnetic resonance imaging (sMRI). First, we compared the identification of V5/MT using both sMRI and histology in Rhesus macaques. A section-by-section comparison of histological slices with in vivo and postmortem sMRI for the same block of cortical tissue showed precise correspondence in localizing heavy myelination for V5/MT and neighboring MST. Thus, sMRI in macaques accurately locates histologically defined myelin within areas known to be motion selective. Second, we investigated the functionally homologous human motion complex (hMT+) using high-resolution in vivo imaging. Humans showed considerable intersubject variability in hMT+ location, when defined with myelin-weighted sMRI signals to reveal structure. When comparing sMRI markers to functional MRI in response to moving stimuli, a region of high myelin signal was generally located within the hMT+ complex. However, there were considerable differences in the alignment of structural and functional markers between individuals. Our results suggest that variation in area identification for hMT+ based on structural and functional markers reflects individual differences in human regional brain architecture.

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