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


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


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.


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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

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