The precise delineation of auditory areas in vivo remains problematic. Histological analysis of postmortem tissue indicates that the relation of areal borders to macroanatomical landmarks is variable across subjects. Furthermore, functional parcellation schemes based on measures of, for example, frequency preference (tonotopy) remain controversial. Here, we propose a 7 Tesla magnetic resonance imaging method that enables the anatomical delineation of auditory cortical areas in vivo and in individual brains, through the high-resolution visualization (0.6×0.6×0.6 mm3) of intracortical anatomical contrast related to myelin. The approach combines the acquisition and analysis of images with multiple MR contrasts (T1, T2∗, and proton density). Compared with previous methods, the proposed solution is feasible at high fields and time efficient, which allows collecting myelin-related and functional images within the same measurement session. Our results show that a data-driven analysis of cortical depth-dependent profiles of anatomical contrast allows identifying a most densely myelinated cortical region on the medial Heschl's gyrus. Analyses of functional responses show that this region includes neuronal populations with typical primary functional properties (single tonotopic gradient and narrow frequency tuning), thus indicating that it may correspond to the human homolog of monkey A1.
- Auditory cortex
- Cortical myelin-related contrast
- High-field MRI