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Q-ball of inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus and beyond.

  • Author(s): Caverzasi, Eduardo
  • Papinutto, Nico
  • Amirbekian, Bagrat
  • Berger, Mitchel S
  • Henry, Roland G
  • et al.
Abstract

The inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) is historically described as the longest associative bundle in the human brain and it connects various parts of the occipital cortex, temporo-basal area and the superior parietal lobule to the frontal lobe through the external/extreme capsule complex. The exact functional role and the detailed anatomical definition of the IFOF are still under debate within the scientific community. In this study we present a fiber tracking dissection of the right and left IFOF by using a q-ball residual-bootstrap reconstruction of High-Angular Resolution Diffusion Imaging (HARDI) data sets in 20 healthy subjects. By defining a single seed region of interest on the coronal fractional anisotropy (FA) color map of each subject, we investigated all the pathways connecting the parietal, occipital and posterior temporal cortices to the frontal lobe through the external/extreme capsule. In line with recent post-mortem dissection studies we found more extended anterior-posterior association connections than the "classical" fronto-occipital representation of the IFOF. In particular the pathways we evidenced showed: a) diffuse projections in the frontal lobe, b) fronto-parietal lobes connections trough the external capsule in almost all the subjects and c) widespread connections in the posterior regions. Our study represents the first consistent in vivo demonstration across a large group of individuals of these novel anterior and posterior terminations of the IFOF detailed described only by post-mortem anatomical dissection. Furthermore our work establishes the feasibility of consistent in vivo mapping of this architecture with independent in vivo methodologies. In conclusion q-ball tractography dissection supports a more complex definition of IFOF, which includes several subcomponents likely underlying specific function.

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