Naming and the role of the uncinate fasciculus in language function

Curr Neurol Neurosci Rep. 2011 Dec;11(6):553-9. doi: 10.1007/s11910-011-0219-6.


In this paper, an overview of the studies relating naming to the uncinate fasciculus is reported. With the introduction of contemporary neuroimaging techniques, namely of diffusion tensor imaging, white matter tracts have been investigated more thoroughly and possible changes in the uncinate fasciculus integrity have been correlated to different neuropsychological deficits. Although previous research has proposed a role of the left uncinate fasciculus on action and object naming or in semantic processing, a more recent study has suggested that naming famous people could be the most relevant task in which this bundle is involved, the semantic component being intact. The uncinate fasciculus connects the orbitofrontal cortex, involved in face encoding and in processing famous names, to the temporal pole, which is crucial in naming people. This conclusion is supported by the fact that tip-of-the-tongue states in older adults with reduced integrity of the uncinate fasciculus mainly concern proper names.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Aging / physiology
  • Brain Neoplasms / complications
  • Brain Neoplasms / pathology
  • Brain Neoplasms / surgery
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / physiopathology
  • Epilepsy, Temporal Lobe / psychology
  • Glioma / complications
  • Glioma / pathology
  • Glioma / surgery
  • Humans
  • Kluver-Bucy Syndrome / psychology
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neurodegenerative Diseases / psychology
  • Temporal Lobe / physiology*
  • Temporal Lobe / physiopathology