Anatomy of the human nucleus accumbens: a combined morphometric study

Surg Radiol Anat. 2011 Jul;33(5):405-14. doi: 10.1007/s00276-010-0766-6. Epub 2011 Jan 4.


Purpose: The human nucleus accumbens (NA), which belongs to the basal ganglia of the brain, is the main part of the ventral striatum. The purpose of our clinically oriented anatomical-radiologic study was to provide anatomical and imaging data of the human NA, primarily useful to neurosurgeons.

Methods: For our imaging study, we used cerebral magnetic resonance images (MRIs) from 26 neurosurgical patients (52 NAs). The material for our anatomic study consisted of 32 cerebral hemispheres (32 NAs) from 18 normal human brains which we have in our department (Department of Anatomy) from cadaver donors. We measured and analyzed the dimensions of the NA at specific clinically important transverse, coronal and sagittal levels.

Results: The human NA suffers from age-related but no side- or sex-related morphometric changes. In surgically important stereotactic levels this nucleus is easily identifiable on MRIs.

Conclusions: We present an anatomic guide of the NA from carefully measured data of our extensive and combined study and we hope that our work will be really helpful to neuroscientists interested in the NA.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Nucleus Accumbens / anatomy & histology*
  • Young Adult