December 3, 2020

Direct structural connections between auditory and visual motion selective regions in humans

In humans, the occipital middle-temporal region (hMT+/V5) specializes in the processing of visual motion, while the Planum Temporale (hPT) specializes in auditory motion processing. It has been hypothesized that these regions might communicate directly to achieve fast and optimal exchange of multisensory motion information. In this study, we investigated for the first time in humans the existence of direct white matter connections between visual and auditory motion-selective regions using a combined functional- and diffusion-MRI approach.

We found reliable evidence supporting the existence of direct white matter connections between individually and functionally defined hMT+/V5 and hPT. We show that projections between hMT+/V5 and hPT do not overlap with large white matter bundles such as the Inferior Longitudinal Fasciculus (ILF) nor the Inferior Frontal Occipital Fasciculus (IFOF). Moreover, we did not find evidence for the existence of reciprocal projections between the face fusiform area and hPT, supporting the functional specificity of hMT+/V5 – hPT connections.

Finally, evidence supporting the existence of hMT+/V5 – hPT connections was corroborated in a large sample of participants (n=114) from the human connectome project. Altogether, this study provides first evidence supporting the existence of direct occipito-temporal projections between hMT+/V5 and hPT which may support the exchange of motion information between functionally specialized auditory and visual regions and that we propose to name the middle (or motion) occipito-temporal track (MOTT).

 bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience

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