Lateralization of ventral and dorsal auditory-language pathways in the human brain

Geoffrey Parker, Geoffrey J M Parker, Simona Luzzi, Daniel C. Alexander, Claudia A M Wheeler-Kingshott, Olga Ciccarelli, Matthew A. Lambon Ralph

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    Recent electrophysiological investigations of the auditory system in primates along with functional neuroimaging studies of auditory perception in humans have suggested there are two pathways arising from the primary auditory cortex. In the primate brain, a 'ventral' pathway is thought to project anteriorly from the primary auditory cortex to prefrontal areas along the superior temporal gyrus while a separate 'dorsal' route connects these areas posteriorly via the inferior parietal lobe. We use diffusion MRI tractography, a noninvasive technique based on diffusion-weighted MRI, to investigate the possibility of a similar pattern of connectivity in the human brain for the first time. The dorsal pathway from Wernicke's area to Broca's area is shown to include the arcuate fasciculus and connectivity to Brodmann area 40, lateral superior temporal gyrus (LSTG), and lateral middle temporal gyrus. A ventral route between Wernicke's area and Broca's area is demonstrated that connects via the external capsule/uncinate fasciculus and the medial superior temporal gyrus. Ventral connections are also observed in the lateral superior and middle temporal gyri. The connections are stronger in the dominant hemisphere, in agreement with previous studies of functional lateralization of auditory-language processing. © 2004 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)656-666
    Number of pages10
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2005


    • Diffusion-weighted imaging
    • Language
    • Lateralization
    • Tractography


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