Functional differentiation in the human ventromedial frontal lobe: A data-driven parcellation

Henry W. Chase, Anthony A. Grace, Peter T. Fox, Mary L. Phillips, Simon B. Eickhoff

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

11 Scopus citations


Ventromedial regions of the frontal lobe (vmFL) are thought to play a key role in decision-making and emotional regulation. However, aspects of this area's functional organization, including the presence of a multiple subregions, their functional and anatomical connectivity, and the cross-species homologies of these subregions with those of other species, remain poorly understood. To address this uncertainty, we employed a two-stage parcellation of the region to identify six distinct structures within the region on the basis of data-driven classification of functional connectivity patterns obtained using the meta-analytic connectivity modeling (MACM) approach. From anterior to posterior, the derived subregions included two lateralized posterior regions, an intermediate posterior region, a dorsal and ventral central region, and a single anterior region. The regions were characterized further by functional connectivity derived using resting-state fMRI and functional decoding using the Brain Map database. In general, the regions could be differentiated on the basis of different patterns of functional connectivity with canonical “default mode network” regions and/or subcortical regions such as the striatum. Together, the findings suggest the presence of functionally distinct neural structures within vmFL, consistent with data from experimental animals as well prior demonstrations of anatomical differences within the region. Detailed correspondence with the anterior cingulate, medial orbitofrontal cortex, and rostroventral prefrontal cortex, as well as specific animal homologs are discussed. The findings may suggest future directions for resolving potential functional and structural correspondence of subregions within the frontal lobe across behavioral contexts, and across mammalian species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3266-3283
Number of pages18
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Issue number12
StatePublished - Aug 15 2020


  • connectivity-based parcellation
  • functional decoding
  • meta-analytic connectivity modeling
  • resting-state fMRI
  • ventromedial frontal lobe

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Neurology
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Anatomy


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