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Neuroimage. 2010 Aug 15;52(2):436-44. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2010.04.247. Epub 2010 May 8.

Horizontal portion of arcuate fasciculus fibers track to pars opercularis, not pars triangularis, in right and left hemispheres: a DTI study.

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  • 1Veterans Affairs Boston Healthcare System and the Harold Goodglass Boston University Aphasia Research Center, Department of Neurology, Boston University School of Medicine, USA.


The arcuate fasciculus (AF) is a white matter pathway traditionally considered to connect left Broca's area with posterior language zones. We utilized diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in eight healthy subjects (5 M) to track pathways in the horizontal mid-portion of the AF (hAF) to subregions of Broca's area - pars triangularis (PTr) and pars opercularis (POp); and to ventral premotor cortex (vPMC) in the right and left hemispheres (RH, LH). These pathways have previously been studied in the LH, but not in the RH. Only 1/8 subjects showed fiber tracts between PTr and hAF in the RH (also, only 1/8 in the LH). In contrast to PTr, 5/8 subjects showed fiber tracts between POp and hAF in the RH (8/8 in the LH). Fiber tracts for vPMC were similar to those of POp, where 7/8 subjects showed fiber tracts between vPMC and hAF in the RH (8/8 in the LH). Our designated hAF could have included some of the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) III, because it is difficult to separate the two fiber bundles. The SLF III has been previously reported to connect supramarginal gyrus with POp and vPMC in the LH. Thus, although the present DTI study showed almost no pathways between PTr and hAF in the RH (and in the LH), robust pathways were observed between POp and/or vPMC with hAF in the RH (and in LH). These results replicate previous studies for the LH, but are new, for the RH. They could contribute to better understanding of recovery in aphasia.

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