Reciprocal thalamocortical connectivity of the medial pulvinar: a depth stimulation and evoked potential study in human brain.

Source: Cereb Cortex

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The thalamic medial pulvinar nucleus (PuM) is fully developed only in primates and reaches its greatest extent in humans. To assess the reciprocal functional connectivity between PuM and cortex, we studied intracerebral-evoked responses obtained after PuM and cortical electrical stimulation in 7 epileptic patients undergoing depth electroencephalographic recordings. Cortical-evoked potentials (CEPs) to PuM stimulation were recorded from all explored cortical regions, except striate cortex, anterior cingulated, and postcentral gyrus. Percentages of cortical contacts pairs responding to PuM stimulation (CEPs response rate) ranged from 80% in temporal neocortex, temporoparietal (TP) junction, insula, and frontoparietal opercular cortex to 34% in mesial temporal regions. Reciprocally, PuM-evoked potentials (PEPs) response rates were 14% after cortical stimulation in insula and frontoparietal opercular cortex, 67% in the TP junction, 76% in temporal neocortex, and 80% in mesial temporal regions. Overall, our study of functional PuM connectivity in the human brain converges with most of the data from anatomical studies in monkeys, except for a strong amygdalohippocampal functional projection to PuM and an unexpected imbalance between some of the reciprocal pathways explored. This functional quantitative approach helps to clarify the functional role of PuM as well as its implication in temporal lobe epileptic seizures.