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The cingulum is a prominent white matter tract that supports prefrontal, parietal, and temporal lobe interactions. Despite being composed of both short and long association fibres, many MRI-based reconstructions ( tractography ) of the cingulum depict an essentially uniform tract that almost encircles the corpus callosum. The present study tested the validity of dividing this tract into subdivisions corresponding to the ‘parahippocampal’, ‘retrosplenial’, and ‘subgenual’ portions of the cingulum. These three cingulum subdivisions occupied different medial–lateral locations, producing a topographic arrangement of cingulum fibres. Other comparisons based on these different reconstructions indicate that only a small proportion of the total white matter in the cingulum traverses the length of the tract. In addition, both the radial diffusivity and fractional anisotropy of the subgenual subdivision differed from that of the retrosplenial subdivision which, in turn, differed from that of the parahippocampal subdivision. The extent to which the radial diffusivity scores and the fractional anisotropy scores correlated between the various cingulum subdivisions proved variable, illustrating how one subdivision may not act as a proxy for other cingulum subdivisions. Attempts to relate the status of the cingulum, as measured by MRI-based fibre tracking, with cognitive or affective measures will, therefore, depend greatly on how and where the cingulum is reconstructed. The present study provides a new framework for subdividing the cingulum, based both on its known connectivity and MRI-based properties.

Document Type

Open Access Journal Article

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Open Access


© 2012 Elsevier Ltd. Open access under CC BY license.