Human middle longitudinal fascicle: segregation and behavioral-clinical implications of two distinct fiber connections linking temporal pole and superior temporal gyrus with the angular gyrus or superior parietal lobule using multi-tensor tractography

Makris N, Preti MG, Wassermann D, Rathi Y, Papadimitriou GM, Yergatian C, Dickerson BC, Shenton ME, Kubicki M

Brain Imaging Behav 2013 Sep;7(3):335-52

PMID: 23686576


The middle longitudinal fascicle (MdLF) is a major fiber connection running principally between the superior temporal gyrus and the parietal lobe, neocortical regions of great biological and clinical interest. Although one of the most prominent cerebral association fiber tracts, it has only recently been discovered in humans. In this high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI) MRI study, we delineated the two major fiber connections of the human MdLF, by examining morphology, topography, cortical connections, biophysical measures, volume and length in seventy-four brains. These two fiber connections course together through the dorsal temporal pole and the superior temporal gyrus maintaining a characteristic topographic relationship in the mediolateral and ventrodorsal dimensions. As these pathways course towards the parietal lobe, they split to form separate fiber pathways, one following a ventrolateral trajectory and connecting with the angular gyrus and the other following a dorsomedial route and connecting with the superior parietal lobule. Based on the functions of their cortical affiliations, we suggest that the superior temporal-angular connection of the MdLF, i.e., STG(MdLF)AG plays a role in language and attention, whereas the superior temporal-superior parietal connection of the MdLF, i.e., STG(MdLF)SPL is involved in visuospatial and integrative audiovisual functions. Furthermore, the MdLF may have clinical implications in neurodegenerative disorders such as primary progressive aphasia, frontotemporal dementia, posterior cortical atrophy, corticobulbar degeneration and Alzheimer’s disease as well as attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder and schizophrenia.