The Nomenclature of Human White Matter Association Pathways: Proposal for a Systematic Taxonomic Anatomical Classification

Emmanuel Mandonnet, Silvio Sarubbo, Laurent Petit
Front. Neuroanat.. 2018-11-06; 12:
DOI: 10.3389/fnana.2018.00094

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Mandonnet E(1), Sarubbo S(2), Petit L(3).

Author information:
(1)Department of Neurosurgery, Lariboisière Hospital, Paris, France.
(2)Division of Neurosurgery, Structural and Functional Connectivity Lab, Azienda Provinciale per i Servizi Sanitari (APSS), Trento, Italy.
(3)Groupe d’Imagerie Neurofonctionnelle, Institut des Maladies Neurodégénératives-UMR 5293, CNRS, CEA University of Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France.

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Front Neuroanat. 2019 Jun 11;13:61.

The heterogeneity and complexity of white matter (WM) pathways of the human brain scretely described by pioneers such as Willis, Stenon, Malpighi, Vieussens and Vicq d’Azyr up to the beginning of the 19th century. Subsequently, novel approaches to the gross dissection of brain internal structures have led to a new understanding of WM organization, notably due to the works of Reil, Gall and Burdach highlighting the fascicular organization of WM. Meynert then proposed a definitive tripartite organization in association, commissural and projection WM
pathways. The enduring anatomical work of Dejerine at the turn of the 20th century describing WM pathways in detail has been the paramount authority on this topic (including its terminology) for over a century, enriched sporadically by studies based on blunt Klingler dissection. Currently, diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging (DWI) is used to reveal the WM fiber tracts of the human brain in vivo by measuring the diffusion of water molecules, especially along axons. It is then possible by tractography to reconstitute the WM pathways of the human brain step by step at an unprecedented level of precision in large cohorts. However, tractography algorithms, although powerful, still face the
complexity of the organization of WM pathways, and there is a crucial need to benefit from the exact definitions of the trajectories and endings of all WM fascicles. Beyond such definitions, the emergence of DWI-based tractography has mostly revealed strong heterogeneity in naming the different bundles, especially the long-range association pathways. This review addresses the various terminologies known for the WM association bundles, aiming to describe the rules of arrangements followed by these bundles and to propose a new nomenclature based
on the structural wiring diagram of the human brain.


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