Anatomic dissection of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus revisited in the lights of brain stimulation data

Cortex. 2010 May;46(5):691-9. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2009.07.015. Epub 2009 Aug 29.


Despite electrostimulation studies of the white matter pathways, supporting the role of the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus (IFOF) in semantic processing, little is known about the precise anatomical course of this fascicle, especially regarding its exact cortical terminations. Here, in the lights of these new functional data, we dissected 14 post-mortem human hemispheres using the Klingler fiber dissection technique, to study the IFOF fibers and to identify their actual cortical terminations in the parietal, occipital and temporal lobes. We identified two different components of the IFOF: (i) a superficial and dorsal subcomponent, which connects the frontal lobe with the superior parietal lobe and the posterior portion of the superior and middle occipital gyri, (ii) a deep and ventral subcomponent, which connects the frontal lobe with the posterior portion of the inferior occipital gyrus and the posterior temporo-basal area. Thus, our results are in line with the hypothesis of the functional role of the IFOF in the semantic system, by showing that it is mainly connected with two areas involved in semantics: the occipital associative extrastriate cortex and the temporo-basal region. Further combined anatomical (dissection and Diffusion Tensor Imaging) and functional (intraoperative subcortical stimulation) studies are needed, to clarify the exact participation of each IFOF subcomponent in semantic processing.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Dissection / methods
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Frontal Lobe / anatomy & histology*
  • Frontal Lobe / physiology
  • Functional Laterality
  • Humans
  • Linguistics
  • Models, Neurological
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Occipital Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Occipital Lobe / physiology
  • Parietal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Parietal Lobe / physiology
  • Temporal Lobe / anatomy & histology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology