Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 19, Issue 2, pp 105–109

The fornix of the human brain: evidence of left/right asymmetry on axial MRI scans

  • T. Supprian
  • E. Hofmann
Radiologic Anatomy

Summary

This article reports the observation that there is a left/right asymmetry of the anterior columns of the fornix in the human brain. This asymmetry is present in the position of the two columns of the fornix in relation to the septum pellucidum. The left columna fornicis was found to be located caudal to the right, and this can be readily visualized on axial MRI scans. This difference was seen in most of the subjects, but in some subjects there was no left/right-difference and in a few the asymmetry was inverse. The asymmetry of the fornix with respect to the anterior-posterior axis was independent of the well-known dissimilar lateral ventricular volumes. However, the left/right difference in the position of the fornix was evident in subjects with or without differences in ventricular volumes. This suggests that the mechanism underlying the development of asymmetry of the fornix is independent of the mechanism leading to ventricular asymmetry. So far, no functional relevance has been ascribed to such differences in location. The finding is gaining interest in connection with recent reports of asymmetries in hippocampal subfields. Studies of fornical lesions should therefore give attention to possible side-to-side differences.

Key words

Brain asymmetry Fornix Magnetic resonance imaging 

Le fornix chez l'homme : évidence d'une asymétrie gauche/droite par examen IRM dans le plan axial

Résumé

Cet article rapporte l'existence d'une asymétrie droite/gauche des colonnes du fornix chez l'Homme. Cette asymétrie apparaît dans les plans en relation avec le septum pellucidum. Le pilier gauche du fornix apparaît en position plus caudale que le droit et ceci peut être bien visualisé sur des coupes IRM axiales. Cette différence existait chez la plupart des sujets. Chez certains, il n'y avait pas de différence gauche/droite et chez quelques sujets, l'asymétrie était inversée. L'asymétrie du fornix dans le sens antéropostérieur était indépendante de l'asymétrie bien connue des volumes ventriculaires latéraux. Quoi qu'il en soit, l'asymétrie droite/gauche de la position des piliers du fornix était évidente chez les sujets qui présentaient où ne présentaient pas de différence de volume ventriculaire. Ceci suggère que le mécanisme sousjacent du développement de l'asymétrie du fornix est indépendante du mécanisme conduisant à l'asymétrie ventriculaire. De plus, aucune conséquence fonctionnelle n'a été décrite en rapport avec de telle différence. Ces résultats sont rapprochés aux études récentes concernant les asymétries des champs hippocampiques. Les études de lésions du fornix devraient par la suite tenir compte de ces différences droite ou gauche.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

References

  1. 1.
    Amaral DG, Insausti R (1990) Hippocampal formation. In: Paxinos G (ed) The human nervous system. Academic Press, San DiegoGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Baldwin GN, Tsuruda JS, Maravilla KR, Hamill GS, Hayes CE (1994) The fornix in patients with seizures caused by unilateral hippocampal sclerosis: detection of unilateral volume loss on MR images. Am J Roentgenol 162: 1185–1189Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Barta PE, Petty RG, McGilchrist I, Lewis RW, Jerram M, Casanova MF, Powers RE, Brill LB, Pearlson GD (1995) Asymmetry of the planum temporale: methodoligical considerations and clinical associations. Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging 61: 137–150Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Bartley AJ, Jones DW, Torrey EF, Zigun JR, Weinberger DR (1993) Sylvian fissure asymmetries in monozygotic twins: a test of late-rality in schizophrenia. Biol Psychiat 34: 853–863Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Broca P (1861) Remarques sur le siège de la faculté de langage articulé, suivies d'une observation d'aphémie. Bull Soc Anat Paris 36: 330–357Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Chi JG, Dooling EC, Gilles FH (1977) Gyral development of the human brain. Ann Neurol 1: 86–93Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Daitz H (1953) Note on the fibre content of the fornix system in men. Brain 76: 509–512Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    DeLisi LE, Hoff AL, Neale C, Kushner M (1994) Asymmetries in the superior temporal lobe in male and female first-episode schizophrenic patients: measures of the planum temporale and superior temporal gyrus by MRI. Schizophrenia Res 12: 19–28Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Gaffan D, Gaffan EA (1991) Amnesia in man following transection of the fornix. Brain 114: 2611–2618Google Scholar
  10. 10.
    Gaffan EA, Gaffan D, Hodges JR (1991) Amnesia following damage to the left fornix and to other sites. Brain 114: 1297–1313Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Geschwind N, Levitsky W (1968) Human brain: left-right asymmetries in temporal speech region. Science 161: 186–187Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Geschwind N, Galaburda AM (1985) Cerebral lateralization. Biological mechanisms, associations, and pathology: I. A hypothesis and program for research. Arch Neurol 42: 428–459Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Glicksohn J, Myslobodsky MS (1993) The presentation of patterns of structural brain asymmetry in normal individuals. Neuropsychologia 31: 145–159Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    Harvey RW (1911) The volume of the ventricles of the brain. Anat Record 5: 301–305Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Hadziselimovic H, Cus M (1966) The appearance of internal structures of the brain in relation to configuration of the human skull. Acta Anat 63: 289–299Google Scholar
  16. 16.
    Hoff AL, Riordan H, O'Donnell D, Stritzke P, Neale C, Boccio A, Anand AK, DeLisi LE (1992) Anomalous lateral sulcus asymmetry and cognitive function in first-episode schizophrenia. Schizophrenia Bull 18: 257–270Google Scholar
  17. 17.
    Kertesz A, Geschwind N (1971) Patterns of pyramidal decussation and their relation to handedness. Arch Neurol 24: 326–332Google Scholar
  18. 18.
    Kulynych JJ, Vladar K, Jones DW, Weinberger DR (1993) Three-dimensional surface rendering in MRI morphometry: a study of the planum temporale. J Comp Assist Tomogr 17: 529–535Google Scholar
  19. 19.
    Le May M, Culebras A (1972) Human brain: morphologic differences in the hemispheres demonstrable by carotid arteriography. N Engl J Med 287: 168–170Google Scholar
  20. 20.
    Le May M, Kido DK (1978) Asymmetries of the cerebral hemispheres on computed tomograms. J Comp Assist Tomogr 2: 471–476Google Scholar
  21. 21.
    Rosen GD, Sherman GF, Galaburda AM (1992) Biological substrates of anatomic asymmetry. Prog Neurobiol 39: 507–515Google Scholar
  22. 22.
    Schwartz JM, Aylward E, Barta PE, Tune LE, Pearlson GD (1992) Sylvian fissure size in schizophrenia measured with the magnetic resonance imaging rating protocol of the consortium to establish a registry for Alzheimer's disease. Am J Psychiatry 149: 1195–1198Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Steinmetz H, Volkmann J, Jänecke L, Freund HJ (1991) Anatomical left-right asymmetry of language-related temporal cortex is different in left-and right-handers. Ann Neurol 29: 315–319Google Scholar
  24. 24.
    Wada JA, Clarke R, Hamm A (1975) Cerebral hemispheric asymmetry in humans. Arch Neurol 32: 239–246Google Scholar
  25. 25.
    Witelson S, Kigar DL (1992) Sylvian fissure morphology and asymmetry in men and women: bilateral differences in relation to handedness in men. J Comp Neurol 323: 326–340Google Scholar
  26. 26.
    Zaidel DW, Esiri MM, Oxbury JM (1993) Regional differentiation of cell densities in the left and right hippocampi of epileptic patients. J Neurol 240: 322–325Google Scholar
  27. 27.
    Zaidel DW, Esiri MM, Oxbury JM (1994) Sex-related asymmetries in the morphology of the left and right hippocampi? J Neurol 241: 620–623Google Scholar
  28. 28.
    Zipursky RB, Lim KO, Pfefferbaum A (1990) Volumetric assessment of cerebral asymmetry from CT scans. Psychiatry Res Neuroimaging 35: 71–89Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1997

Authors and Affiliations

  • T. Supprian
    • 1
  • E. Hofmann
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of PsychiatryUniversity of WürzburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of NeuroradiologyUniversity of WürzburgGermany
  3. 3.Psychiatrische Klinik und PoliklinikWürzburgGermany

Personalised recommendations