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Keywords:

  • OMPFC;
  • orbital network;
  • medial network;
  • superior temporal gyrus;
  • auditory cortex;
  • inferior temporal cortex;
  • superior temporal sulcus;
  • insula;
  • connections

Abstract

The origin and termination of axonal connections between the orbital and medial prefrontal cortex (OMPFC) and the temporal, insular, and opercular cortex have been analyzed with anterograde and retrograde axonal tracers, injected in the OMPFC or temporal cortex. The results show that there are two distinct, complementary, and reciprocal neural systems, related to the previously defined “orbital” and “medial” prefrontal networks. The orbital prefrontal network, which includes areas in the central and lateral part of the orbital cortex, is connected with vision-related areas in the inferior temporal cortex (especially area TEav) and the fundus and ventral bank of the superior temporal sulcus (STSf/v), and with somatic sensory-related areas in the frontal operculum (OPf) and dysgranular insular area (Id). No connections were found between the orbital network and auditory areas. The orbital network is also connected with taste and olfactory cortical areas and the perirhinal cortex and appears to be involved in assessment of sensory objects, especially food. The medial prefrontal network includes areas on the medial surface of the frontal lobe, medial orbital areas, and two caudolateral orbital areas. It is connected with the rostral superior temporal gyrus (STGr) and the dorsal bank of the superior temporal sulcus (STSd). This region is rostral to the auditory parabelt areas, and there are only relatively light connections between the auditory areas and the medial network. This system, which is also connected with the entorhinal, parahippocampal, and cingulate/retrosplenial cortex, may be involved in emotion and other self-referential processes. J. Comp. Neurol. 506:659–693, 2008. © 2007 Wiley-Liss, Inc.