The white matter architecture underlying semantic processing: A systematic review

Publication date: Available online 27 September 2019

Source: Neuropsychologia

Author(s): E.M. Cocquyt, E. Lanckmans, P. van Mierlo, W. Duyck, A. Szmalec, P. Santens, M. De Letter


From a holistic point of view, semantic processes are subserved by large-scale subcortico-cortical networks. The dynamic routing of information between grey matter structures depends on the integrity of subcortical white matter pathways. Nonetheless, controversy remains on which of these pathways support semantic processing. Therefore, a systematic review of the literature was performed with a focus on anatomo-functional correlations obtained from direct electrostimulation during awake tumor surgery, and conducted between diffusion tensor imaging metrics and behavioral semantic performance in healthy and aphasic individuals. The 43 included studies suggest that the left inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus contributes to the essential connectivity that allows semantic processing. However, it remains uncertain whether its contributive role is limited to the organization of semantic knowledge or extends to the level of semantic control. Moreover, the functionality of the left uncinate fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus and the posterior segment of the indirect arcuate fasciculus in semantic processing has to be confirmed by future research.

via ScienceDirect Publication: Neuropsychologia

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