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Cereb Cortex. 2013 Oct;23(10):2347-56. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhs225. Epub 2012 Aug 8.

Rethinking the role of the middle longitudinal fascicle in language and auditory pathways.

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Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Pittsburgh Medical Center, Pittsburgh, PA 15213, USA.


The middle longitudinal fascicle (MdLF) was originally described in the monkey brain as a pathway that interconnects the superior temporal and angular gyri. Only recently have diffusion tensor imaging studies provided some evidence of its existence in humans, with a connectivity pattern similar to that in monkeys and a potential role in the language system. In this study, we combine high-angular-resolution fiber tractography and fiber microdissection techniques to determine the trajectory, cortical connectivity, and a quantitative analysis of the MdLF. Here, we analyze diffusion spectrum imaging (DSI) studies in 6 subjects (subject-specific approach) and in a template of 90 DSI studies (NTU-90 Atlas). Our tractography and microdissection results show that the human MdLF differs significantly from the monkey. Indeed, the human MdLF interconnects the superior temporal gyrus with the superior parietal lobule and parietooccipital region, and has only minor connections with the angular gyrus. On the basis of the roles of these interconnected cortical regions, we hypothesize that, rather than a language-related tract, the MdLF may contribute to the dorsal "where" pathway of the auditory system.


auditory system; fiber tractography; language; middle longitudinal fasscicle; white matter

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