The dorsal mesial frontal cortex contains the supplementary motor area (SMA) and the pre-supplementary motor area (pre-SMA), which play an important role in action and cognition. Evidence from cytoarchitectonic, stimulation, and functional studies suggests structural and functional divergence between the two subregions. However, a microstructural map of these areas obtained in a representative sample of brains in a stereotaxic reference space is still lacking. In the present study we show that the dorsal mesial frontal motor cortex comprises two microstructurally different brain regions: area SMA and area pre-SMA. Area-specific cytoarchitectonic patterns were studied in serial histological sections stained for cell bodies of ten human postmortem brains. Borders of the two cortical areas were identified using image analysis and statistical features. The 3D reconstructed areas were transferred to a common reference space, and probabilistic maps were calculated by superimposing the individual maps. A coordinate-based meta-analysis of functional imaging data was subsequently performed using the two probabilistic maps as microstructurally defined seed regions. It revealed that areas SMA and pre-SMA were strongly co-activated with areas in precentral, supramarginal and superior frontal gyri, Rolandic operculum, thalamus, putamen and cerebellum. Both areas were related to motor functions, but area pre-SMA was involved in more complex processes such as learning, cognitive processes and perception. The here described subsequent analyses led to converging evidence supporting the microstructural, and functional segregation of areas SMA and pre-SMA, and maps will be made available to the scientific community to further elucidate the microstructural substrates of motor and cognitive control.
The cerebellar nuclei are involved in several brain functions, including the modulation of motor and cognitive performance. To differentiate their participation in these functions, and to analyze their changes in neurodegenerative and other diseases as revealed by neuroimaging, stereotaxic maps are necessary. These maps reflect the complex spatial structure of cerebellar nuclei with adequate spatial resolution and detail. Here we report on the cytoarchitecture of the dentate, interposed (emboliform and globose) and fastigial nuclei, and introduce 3D probability maps in stereotaxic MNI-Colin27 space as a prerequisite for subsequent meta-analysis of their functional involvement. Histological sections of 10 human post mortem brains were therefore examined. Differences in cell density were measured and used to distinguish a dorsal from a ventral part of the dentate nucleus. Probabilistic maps were calculated, which indicate the position and extent of the nuclei in 3D-space, while considering their intersubject variability. The maps of the interposed and the dentate nuclei differed with respect to their interaction patterns and functions based on meta-analytic connectivity modeling and quantitative functional decoding, respectively. For the dentate nucleus, significant (p < 0.05) co-activations were observed with thalamus, supplementary motor area (SMA), putamen, BA 44 of Broca's region, areas of superior and inferior parietal cortex, and the superior frontal gyrus (SFG). In contrast, the interposed nucleus showed more limited co-activations with SMA, area 44, putamen, and SFG. Thus, the new stereotaxic maps contribute to analyze structure and function of the cerebellum. These maps can be used for anatomically reliable and precise identification of degenerative alteration in MRI-data of patients who suffer from various cerebellar diseases.