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Cortico-Cortical Connectivity in the Human Brain: A Study on the Cortical White Matter


Schüz,  A
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

Braitenberg,  V
Former Department Structure and Function of Natural Nerve-Net, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Schüz, A., & Braitenberg, V. (2004). Cortico-Cortical Connectivity in the Human Brain: A Study on the Cortical White Matter. Poster presented at 7th Tübingen Perception Conference (TWK 2004), Tübingen, Germany.

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The human cortical white matter has a volume nearly as large as the grey matter. Most of it is composed of bers connecting the cortex to itself. These bres can be divided into the following systems: 1) short bres which follow the gyri and sulci of the grey matter (the U- bre-system), 2) longer bres which make short-cuts between more distant gyri, 3) long bres which run in fascicles in the depth of the white matter and connect the different cortical lobes with each other, and 4) bres of the Corpus callosum. In this study we make an estimate of the quantitative composition of some of these sytems. This gives insights into the organization of cortico-cortical connectivity in the human brain which is otherwise difcult to approach. In a rst approach, we dissected the long-range fascicles in the depth of the white matter. Measuring their cross sectional areas and multiplying these by the assumed density of bres one can estimate the number of bres in these fascicles. It turned out to be of the orders of and P.QSR P.Q<T in the individual fascicles and to add up to the order of P.Q7U for the fascicles of one hemisphere. Thus, the number of bres connecting the lobes of one hemisphere to each other is similar to the number of bres in the Corpus callosum [1]. Both of these long bre systems comprise only a few percent of the total number of cortico-cortical bres [2]. In a second approach, we made estimates on the number of short cortico-cortical bres (up to a few centimeters) in the white matter (based on volume measurements of the U-ber system) and on the number of horizontal axon collaterals which connect the cortex in itself up to a few millimeters within the grey matter. It turns out that there is an inverse relation between number and range of bres connecting the cortex in itself. The bres in the U-bre system outnumber the cortico-cortical bres in the rest of the white matter by a factor of 10, and are themselves about 10 times less than the horizontal collaterals in the grey matter.