Visual cortex contains a hierarchy of visual areas. The earliest cortical area (V1) contains neurons responding to colour, form and motion. Later areas specialize on processing of specific features. The second visual area (V2) in non-human primates contains a stripe-based anatomical organization, initially defined using cytochrome-oxidase staining of post-mortem tissue. Neurons in these stripes have been proposed to serve distinct functional specializations, e.g. processing of color, form and motion. These stripes represent an intermediate stage in visual hierarchy and serve a key role in the increasing functional specialization of visual areas. Using sub-millimeter high-field functional and anatomical MRI (7T), we provide in vivo evidence for stripe-based subdivisions in humans. Using functional MRI, we contrasted responses elicited by stimuli alternating at slow and fast temporal frequencies. We revealed stripe-based subdivisions in V2 ending at the V1/V2 border. The human stripes reach into V3. Using anatomical MRI optimized for myelin contrast within gray matter, we also observe a stripe pattern. Stripe subdivisions preferentially responding to fast temporal frequencies are more myelinated. As such, functional and anatomical measures provide independent and converging evidence for functional organization into striped-based subdivisions in human V2 and V3.
- Journal Article