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Characterization of the human visual V6 complex by functional magnetic resonance imaging


: Dr P. Dechent, as above.


Magnetoencephalography of a visual area along the human parieto-occipital sulcus suggested that this region represents the human homologue of the monkey visual area V6 complex (visual area V6/visuomotor area V6A) involved in the integration of visual and somatomotor information. We used functional magnetic resonance imaging at 2.0 T and 2 × 2 × 3 mm3 resolution (16 sections) to characterize visual areas along the parieto-occipital sulcus in five healthy human subjects. Paradigms comprised a full-field checkerboard stimulation, a full-field luminance flicker as well as a foveal and peripheral luminance flicker using both a direct and differential design for comparing functional states. Along the parieto-occipital sulcus, and in contrast to primary visual areas, luminance stimulation evoked much larger activation volumes than checkerboard stimulation. Moreover, based on anatomic landmarks, luminance stimulation identified two functionally distinct regions of parieto-occipital sulcus activations: an inferior part (supposedly visual area V6) and a superior portion (supposedly visuomotor area V6A). With these assignments, foveal vs. peripheral luminance stimulation revealed a weaker foveal overrepresentation in visual area V6/visuomotor area V6A than in early visual areas, and only a mild tendency for a retinotopic organization in visual area V6. Further analyses of the functional coding of the human visual area V6 complex require functional magnetic resonance imaging at even higher spatial resolution.