The parietal cortex has traditionally been implicated in spatial attention and eye-movement processes. Recent functional neuroimaging studies have found that activation in the parietal cortex is related to successful recognition memory. The activated regions consistently include the intraparietal sulcus in the lateral parietal cortex and the precuneus in the medial parietal cortex. However, little is known about the functional differences between lateral and medial parietal cortices in the memory retrieval process. In this study, we examined whether the human lateral and medial parietal lobes have differential anatomical and functional connectivity with the temporal lobe. To this end, we used functional magnetic resonance imaging to constrain the analysis of anatomical connectivity obtained by diffusion tensor imaging (DTI). Both DTI tractography and functional connectivity analysis showed that the lateral parietal region has anatomical and functional connections with the lateral temporal lobe, and the medial parietal region has connections with the medial temporal lobe. These results suggest the existence of segregated lateral and medial parieto-temporal pathways in successful memory retrieval.
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