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Hum Brain Mapp. 2016 Jun;37(6):2210-22. doi: 10.1002/hbm.23167. Epub 2016 Mar 4.

Structural connectivity of the human anterior temporal lobe: A diffusion magnetic resonance imaging study.

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Department of Neurology, University of California San Francisco, San Francisco, CA, USA.
Neuroimaging Research Unit, Institute of Experimental Neurology, Division of Neuroscience, San Raffaele Scientific Institute, Vita-Salute San Raffaele University, Milan, Italy.
Institute for Stroke and Dementia Research, Ludwig-Maximilians-University, Munich, Germany.
Center for Mind/Brain Sciences (CIMEC), University of Trento, Rovereto, Italy.


The anterior temporal lobes (ATL) have been implicated in a range of cognitive functions including auditory and visual perception, language, semantic knowledge, and social-emotional processing. However, the anatomical relationships between the ATLs and the broader cortical networks that subserve these functions have not been fully elucidated. Using diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and probabilistic tractography, we tested the hypothesis that functional segregation of information in the ATLs is reflected by distinct patterns of structural connectivity to regions outside the ATLs. We performed a parcellation of the ATLs bilaterally based on the degree of connectivity of each voxel with eight ipsilateral target regions known to be involved in various cognitive networks. Six discrete segments within each ATL showed preferential connectivity to one of the ipsilateral target regions, via four major fiber tracts (uncinate, inferior longitudinal, middle longitudinal, and arcuate fasciculi). Two noteworthy interhemispheric differences were observed: connections between the ATL and orbito-frontal areas were stronger in the right hemisphere, while the consistency of the connection between the ATL and the inferior frontal gyrus through the arcuate fasciculus was greater in the left hemisphere. Our findings support the hypothesis that distinct regions within the ATLs have anatomical connections to different cognitive networks. Hum Brain Mapp 37:2210-2222, 2016.


anterior temporal lobe; diffusion tensor imaging; healthy subjects; parcellation; structural connectivity

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