Structure-function relationship of working memory activity with hippocampal and prefrontal cortex volumes

Michael P. Harms*, Lei Wang, John G. Csernansky, Deanna M. Barch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Scopus citations

Abstract

A rapidly increasing number of studies are quantifying the system-level network architecture of the human brain based on structural-to-structural and functional-to-functional relationships. However, a largely unexplored area is the nature and existence of "cross-modal" structural-functional relationships, in which, for example, the volume (or other morphological property) of one brain region is related to the functional response to a given task either in that same brain region, or another brain region. The present study investigated whether the gray matter volume of a selected group of structures (superior, middle, and inferior frontal gyri, thalamus, and hippocampus) was correlated with the fMRI response to a working memory task, within a mask of regions previously identified as involved with working memory. The subjects included individuals with schizophrenia, their siblings, and healthy controls (n = 154 total). Using rigorous permutation testing to define the null distribution, we found that the volume of the superior and middle frontal gyri was correlated with working memory activity within clusters in the intraparietal sulcus (i.e., dorsal parietal cortex) and that the volume of the hippocampus was correlated with working memory activity within clusters in the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex and left inferior frontal gyrus. However, we did not find evidence that the identified structure-function relationships differed between subject groups. These results show that long-distance structural-functional relationships exist within the human brain. The study of such cross-modal relationships represents an additional approach for studying systems-level interregional brain networks.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)173-186
Number of pages14
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Volume218
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2013

Keywords

  • Connectivity
  • Functional MRI
  • Hippocampus
  • Prefrontal cortex
  • Structural MRI
  • Working memory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Histology

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