A ventral salience network in the macaque brain

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Successful navigation of the environment requires attending and responding efficiently to objects and conspecifics with the potential to benefit or harm (i.e., that have value). In humans, this function is subserved by a distributed large-scale neural network called the “salience network”. We have recently demonstrated that there are two anatomically and functionally dissociable salience networks anchored in the dorsal and ventral portions of the human anterior insula (Touroutoglou et al., 2012). In this paper, we test the hypothesis that these two subnetworks exist in rhesus macaques (Macaca mulatta). We provide evidence that a homologous ventral salience network exists in macaques, but that the connectivity of the dorsal anterior insula in macaques is not sufficiently developed as a dorsal salience network. The evolutionary implications of these finding are considered.

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