Circuits, Networks, and Neuropsychiatric Disease: Transitioning From Anatomy to Imaging

Biol Psychiatry. 2020 Feb 15;87(4):318-327. doi: 10.1016/j.biopsych.2019.10.024. Epub 2019 Nov 6.


Since the development of cellular and myelin stains, anatomy has formed the foundation for understanding circuitry in the human brain. However, recent functional and structural studies using magnetic resonance imaging have taken the lead in this endeavor. These innovative and noninvasive approaches have the advantage of studying connectivity patterns under different conditions directly in the human brain. They demonstrate dynamic and structural changes within and across networks linked to normal function and to a wide range of psychiatric illnesses. However, these indirect methods are unable to link networks to the hardwiring that underlies them. In contrast, anatomic invasive experimental studies can. Following a brief review of prefrontal cortical, anterior cingulate, and striatal connections and the different methodologies used, this article discusses how data from anatomic studies can help inform how hardwired connections are linked to the functional and structural networks identified in imaging studies.

Keywords: Anterior cingulate cortex; Connectivity; Diffusion magnetic resonance imaging; Hubs; Prefrontal cortex; Resting-state magnetic resonance imaging; Striatum; Tract-tracing experiments.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Brain / diagnostic imaging
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Gyrus Cinguli
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging
  • Prefrontal Cortex