Date Published:2010 Nov
The dorsolateral prefrontal cortex (DLPFC) is a brain region that has figured prominently in studies of schizophrenia and working memory, yet the exact neuroanatomical localization of this brain region remains to be defined. DLPFC primarily involves the superior frontal gyrus and middle frontal gyrus (MFG). The latter, however is not a single neuroanatomical entity but instead is comprised of rostral (anterior, middle, and posterior) and caudal regions. In this study we used structural MRI to develop a method for parcellating MFG into its component parts. We focused on this region of DLPFC because it includes BA46, a region involved in working memory. We evaluated volume differences in MFG in 20 patients with chronic schizophrenia and 20 healthy controls. Mid-rostral MFG (MR-MFG) was delineated within the rostral MFG using anterior and posterior neuroanatomical landmarks derived from cytoarchitectonic definitions of BA46. Gray matter volumes of MR-MFG were then compared between groups, and a significant reduction in gray matter volume was observed (p<0.008), but not in other areas of MFG (i.e., anterior or posterior rostral MFG, or caudal regions of MFG). Our results demonstrate that volumetric alterations in MFG gray matter are localized exclusively to MR-MFG. 3D reconstructions of the cortical surface made it possible to follow MFG into its anterior part, where other approaches have failed. This method of parcellation offers a more precise way of measuring MR-MFG that will likely be important in further documentation of DLPFC anomalies in schizophrenia.