Magnetoencephalography (MEG) has recently revealed that the transitions between the parietal operculum (Pop) and the insula (area G) and the ventral end of the central sulcus (cs) were activated with the shortest latency by instrumental gustatory stimulation, which suggests that the location of the primary gustatory area is in these two regions. However, studies using other noninvasive brain-imaging methods such as positron-emission tomography or functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) with manual application of tastants into the mouth have been unable to confirm this. The present study examined cortical activation by repetitive stimulation of the tongue tip with 1 M NaCl with a computer-controlled stimulator and used fMRI to detect it. In individual brains, activations were detected with multiple comparisons (false discovery rate) across the whole brain corrected (threshold at P < 0.05) at both area G and frontal operculum (Fop) in 8 of 11 subjects and at the rolandic operculum (Rop) in 7 subjects. Activations were also found at the ventral end of the cs (n=3). Group analysis with random-effect models (multiple comparison using familywise error in regions of interest, P < 0.02) revealed activation at area G in both hemispheres and in the Fop, Rop, and ventral end of the cs on the left side. The present study revealed no activation on the gyrus of the external cerebral surface except for the Rop. Taking MEG findings into consideration, the present findings strongly indicate that the primary gustatory area is present at both the transition between the Pop and insula and the Rop including the gray matter within a ventral part of the cs.
- Gustatory cortex
- Noninvasive brain imaging