Dorsal and ventral pathways in language development

Brain Lang. 2013 Nov;127(2):289-95. doi: 10.1016/j.bandl.2013.03.001. Epub 2013 May 1.


The dorsal and ventral information streams between inferior frontal and temporal language regions in the human brain are implemented by two fiber connections that consist of separable tracts. We compared the maturation of the two connections including their subcomponents in three different age groups: newborn infants, 7-year-old children, and adults. Our results reveal a maturational primacy of the ventral connection in the language network associating the temporal areas to the inferior frontal gyrus during early development, which is already in place at birth. Likewise, a dorsal pathway from the temporal cortex to the premotor cortex is observable at this early age. This is in contrast to the dorsal pathway to the inferior frontal gyrus which matures at later stages in development and might play a role in more complex language functions.

Keywords: Arcuate fasciculus; DWI; Development; Dorsal and ventral pathways; IFG; Inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Brain / anatomy & histology*
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Language Development*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Young Adult