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      The splenium of the corpus callosum: embryology, anatomy, function and imaging with pathophysiological hypothesis


      1 , 2 , 1 ,


      Springer Berlin Heidelberg

      Splenium, Corpus callosum, MRI, Anatomy, Pathophysiology, Consciousness

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          Background and purpose

          The splenium of the corpus callosum is the most posterior part of the corpus callosum. Its embryological development, anatomy, vascularization, function, imaging of pathology, possible pathophysiological mechanisms by which pathology may develop and the clinical consequences are discussed.


          A literature-based description is provided on development, anatomy and function. MR and CT images are used to demonstrate pathology. The majority of pathology, known to affect the splenium, and the clinical effects are described in three subsections: (A) limited to the splenium, with elaboration on pathophysiology of reversible splenial lesions, (B) pathology in the cerebral white matter extending into or deriving from the splenium, with special emphasis on tumors, and (C) splenial involvement in generalized conditions affecting the entire brain, with a hypothesis for pathophysiological mechanisms for the different diseases.


          The development of the splenium is preceded by the formation of the hippocampal commissure. It is bordered by the falx and the tentorium and is perfused by the anterior and posterior circulation. It contains different caliber axonal fibers and the most compact area of callosal glial cells. These findings may explain the affinity of specific forms of pathology for this region. The fibers interconnect the temporal and occipital regions of both hemispheres reciprocally and are important in language, visuospatial information transfer and behavior. Acquired pathology may lead to changes in consciousness.


          The development, location, fiber composition and vascularization of the splenium make it vulnerable to specific pathological processes. It appears to play an important role in consciousness.

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          Most cited references 105

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          Topography of the human corpus callosum revisited--comprehensive fiber tractography using diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging.

          Several tracing studies have established a topographical distribution of fiber connections to the cortex in midsagittal cross-sections of the corpus callosum (CC). The most prominent example is Witelson's scheme, which defines five vertical partitions mainly based on primate data. Conventional MRI of the human CC does not reveal morphologically discernable structures, although microscopy techniques identified myelinated axons with a relatively small diameter in the anterior and posterior third of the CC as opposed to thick fibers in the midbody and posterior splenium. Here, we applied diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in conjunction with a tract-tracing algorithm to gain cortical connectivity information of the CC in individual subjects. With DTI-based tractography, we distinguished five vertical segments of the CC, containing fibers projecting into prefrontal, premotor (and supplementary motor), primary motor, and primary sensory areas as well as into parietal, temporal, and occipital cortical areas. Striking differences to Witelson's classification were recognized in the midbody and anterior third of the CC. In particular, callosal motor fiber bundles were found to cross the CC in a much more posterior location than previously indicated. Differences in water mobility were found to be in qualitative agreement with differences in the microstructure of transcallosal fibers yielding the highest anisotropy in posterior regions of the CC. The lowest anisotropy was observed in compartments assigned to motor and sensory cortical areas. In conclusion, DTI-based fiber tractography of healthy human subjects suggests a modification of the widely accepted Witelson scheme and a new classification of vertical CC partitions.
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            Growth patterns in the developing brain detected by using continuum mechanical tensor maps.

            The dynamic nature of growth and degenerative disease processes requires the design of sensitive strategies to detect, track and quantify structural change in the brain in its full spatial and temporal complexity. Although volumes of brain substructures are known to change during development, detailed maps of these dynamic growth processes have been unavailable. Here we report the creation of spatially complex, four-dimensional quantitative maps of growth patterns in the developing human brain, detected using a tensor mapping strategy with greater spatial detail and sensitivity than previously obtainable. By repeatedly scanning children (aged 3-15 years) across time spans of up to four years, a rostro-caudal wave of growth was detected at the corpus callosum, a fibre system that relays information between brain hemispheres. Peak growth rates, in fibres innervating association and language cortices, were attenuated after puberty, and contrasted sharply with a severe, spatially localized loss of subcortical grey matter. Conversely, at ages 3-6 years, the fastest growth rates occurred in frontal networks that regulate the planning of new actions. Local rates, profiles, and principal directions of growth were visualized in each individual child.
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              Central pontine and extrapontine myelinolysis: the osmotic demyelination syndromes.


                Author and article information

                Springer Berlin Heidelberg (Berlin/Heidelberg )
                15 February 2020
                15 February 2020
                : 62
                : 5
                : 563-585
                [1 ]Department of Radiology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands
                [2 ]Faculty of Medical Sciences/Department of Neurology, University Medical Center Groningen, University of Groningen, 9700 RB Groningen, The Netherlands
                © The Author(s) 2020

                Open Access This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.

                Funded by: University Medical Center Groningen (UMCG)
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                © Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2020

                Radiology & Imaging

                splenium, corpus callosum, mri, anatomy, pathophysiology, consciousness


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