Cortical regions contributing to the anterior commissure in man

Exp Brain Res. 1999 Jan;124(1):1-7. doi: 10.1007/s002210050593.


The human anterior commissure is believed, by extrapolation from data obtained in macaque monkeys, to convey axons from the temporal and orbitofrontal cortex. Reports of interhemispheric transfer and sexual dimorphism related to the anterior commissure, however, make more precise data on the human anterior commissure desirable. We investigated the connectivity of the human anterior commissure in six adults (male and female) that had circumscribed hemispheric lesions in temporal, frontal, parietal or occipital cortices or in infrapallidal white matter using the Nauta for anterogradely degenerating axons. Axons originating in the inferior part of temporal or occipital lobes, occipital convexity and possibly central fissure and prefrontal convexity were found to cross the midsagittal plane in the anterior commissure. The largest contingent of commissural axons originated in the inferior part of the temporal lobe; it displayed a roughly topographic organization, preferentially running through the inferior part of the commissure. The inferior temporal contingent seemed to reach homotopic and heterotopic targets in the opposite hemisphere. Among the latter were the amygdala and possibly the orbitofrontal cortex. The present data suggest that the human anterior commissure conveys axons from much larger territories than expected from work on non-human primates. Similarly to the human and non-human primate corpus callosum, the anterior commissure is roughly topographically organized and participates in heterotopic connectivity.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways
  • Occipital Lobe / cytology
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology
  • Temporal Lobe / cytology