"In vivo Brodmann mapping" or non-invasive cortical parcellation using MRI, especially by measuring cortical myelination, has recently become a popular research topic, though myeloarchitectonic cortical parcellation in humans previously languished in favor of cytoarchitecture. We review recent in vivo myelin mapping studies and discuss some of the different methods for estimating myelin content. We discuss some ways in which myelin maps may improve surface registration and be useful for cross-modal and cross-species comparisons, including some preliminary cross-species results. Next, we consider neurobiological aspects of why some parts of cortex are more myelinated than others. Myelin content is inversely correlated with intracortical circuit complexity - in general, more myelin content means simpler and perhaps less dynamic intracortical circuits. Using existing PET data and functional network parcellations, we examine metabolic differences in the differently myelinated cortical functional networks. Lightly myelinated cognitive association networks tend to have higher aerobic glycolysis than heavily myelinated early sensory-motor ones, perhaps reflecting greater ongoing dynamic anabolic cortical processes. This finding is consistent with the hypothesis that intracortical myelination may stabilize intracortical circuits and inhibit synaptic plasticity. Finally, we discuss the future of the in vivo myeloarchitectural field and cortical parcellation - "in vivo Brodmann mapping" - in general.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)165-175
Number of pages11
StatePublished - Jun 1 2014


  • Aerobic glycolysis
  • Cerebral cortex
  • Cortical area
  • Cortical parcellation
  • Myelin map
  • PET


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