The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Frontal cortical and subcortical projections provide a basis for segmenting the cingulum bundle: implications for neuroimaging and psychiatric disorders.

PMID 25057206


The cingulum bundle (CB) is one of the brain's major white matter pathways, linking regions associated with executive function, decision-making, and emotion. Neuroimaging has revealed that abnormalities in particular locations within the CB are associated with specific psychiatric disorders, including depression and bipolar disorder. However, the fibers using each portion of the CB remain unknown. In this study, we used anatomical tract-tracing in nonhuman primates (Macaca nemestrina, Macaca fascicularis, Macaca mulatta) to examine the organization of specific cingulate, noncingulate frontal, and subcortical pathways through the CB. The goals were as follows: (1) to determine connections that use the CB, (2) to establish through which parts of the CB these fibers travel, and (3) to relate the CB fiber pathways to the portions of the CB identified in humans as neurosurgical targets for amelioration of psychiatric disorders. Results indicate that cingulate, noncingulate frontal, and subcortical fibers all travel through the CB to reach both cingulate and noncingulate targets. However, many brain regions send projections through only part, not all, of the CB. For example, amygdala fibers are not present in the caudal portion of the dorsal CB. These results allow segmentation of the CB into four unique zones. We identify the specific connections that are abnormal in psychiatric disorders and affected by neurosurgical interventions, such as deep brain stimulation and cingulotomy.