Towards a functional atlas of human white matter

Silvio Sarubbo, Alessandro De Benedictis, Stefano Merler, Emmanuel Mandonnet, Sergio Balbi, Enrico Granieri, Hugues Duffau

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Objectives: Although diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) and postmortem dissections improved the knowledge of white matter (WM) anatomy, functional information is lacking. Our aims are: to provide a subcortical atlas of human brain functions; to elucidate the functional roles of different bundles; to provide a probabilistic resection map of WM. Experimental design: We studied 130 patients who underwent awake surgery for gliomas (82 left; 48 right) with electrostimulation mapping at cortical and subcortical levels. Different aspects of language, sensori-motor, spatial cognition, and visual functions were monitored. 339 regions of interest (ROIs) including the functional response errors collected during stimulation were co-registered in the MNI space, as well as the resections' areas and residual tumors. Functional response errors and resection areas were matched with DTI and cortical atlases. Subcortical maps for each function and a probability map of resection were computed. Principal observations: The medial part of dorsal stream (arcuate fasciculus) subserves phonological processing; its lateral part [indirect anterior portion of the superior longitudinal fascicle (SLF)] subserves speech planning. The ventral stream subserves language semantics and matches with the inferior fronto-occipital fascicle. Reading deficits match with the inferior longitudinal fascicle. Anomias match with the indirect posterior portion of the SLF. Frontal WM underpins motor planning and execution. Right parietal WM subserves spatial cognition. Sensori-motor and visual fibers were the most preserved bundles. Conclusions: We report the first anatomo-functional atlas of WM connectivity in humans by correlating cognitive data, electrostimulation, and DTI. We provide a valuable tool for cognitive neurosciences and clinical applications.

Original languageEnglish
JournalHuman Brain Mapping
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2015


  • Direct electrical stimulation
  • Functional connectivity
  • Subcortical atlas
  • White matter pathways

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Neurology
  • Anatomy
  • Neurology
  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging
  • Radiological and Ultrasound Technology


Dive into the research topics of 'Towards a functional atlas of human white matter'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this