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In-vivo magnetic resonance imaging of the structural core of the Papez circuit in humans

Granziera, Cristinaa,c; Hadjikhani, Nouchinef,c; Arzy, Shaharc,d; Seeck, Margittad; Meuli, Retob; Krueger, Gunnare

doi: 10.1097/WNR.0b013e328344f75f

Papez circuit is one of the major pathways of the limbic system, and it is involved in the control of memory and emotion. Structural and functional alterations have been reported in psychiatric, neurodegenerative, and epileptic diseases. Despite the clinical interest, however, in-vivo imaging of the entire circuit remains a technological challenge. We used magnetic resonance diffusion spectrum imaging to comprehensively picture the Papez circuit in healthy humans: (i) the hippocampus–mammillary body pathway, (ii) the connections between the lateral subiculum and the cingulate cortex, and (iii) the mammillo–thalamic tract. The diagnostic and therapeutic implications of these results are discussed in the context of recent findings reporting the involvement of the Papez circuit in neurological and psychiatric diseases.

aDepartments of Neurology

bRadiology, Centre Hospitalier Universitaire Vaudois and University of Lausanne

cBrain Mind Institute, Ecole Polytechnique Fédérale, Lausanne

dDepartment of Neurology, Geneva University Hospital, Geneva

eSiemens Schweiz AG, Healthcare Sector IM&WS S, Renens, Switzerland

fAthinoula A. Martinos Center for Biomedical Imaging, Massachusetts General Hospital, Harvard Medical School, Charlestown, Massachusetts, USA

Correspondence to Dr Cristina Granziera, EPFL SV BMI GRHAD, Batiment AAB 1 32, Station 15, Lausanne 1015, Switzerland Tel: +41 78 6114349; fax: +41 78 6114350; e-mail:

Received November 26, 2010

Accepted January 24, 2011

© 2011 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.