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Intralobar fibres of the occipital lobe: A post mortem dissection study

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Vergani, F., Mahmood, S., Morris, C., Mitchell, P., & Forkel, S. J. (2014). Intralobar fibres of the occipital lobe: A post mortem dissection study. Cortex, 56, 145-156. doi:10.1016/j.cortex.2014.03.002.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-000E-B374-5

The atlas by Heinrich Sachs (1892) provided an accurate description of the intralobar fibres of the occipital lobe, with a detailed representation of the short associative tracts connecting different parts of the lobe. Little attention has been paid to the work of Sachs since its publication. In this study, we present the results of the dissection of three hemispheres, performed according to the Klingler technique (1935). Our anatomical findings are then compared to the original description of the occipital fibres anatomy as detailed by Sachs.

Three hemispheres were dissected according to Klingler's technique (1935). Specimens were fixed in 10% formalin and frozen at −15 °C for two weeks. After defreezing, dissection of the white matter fibres was performed with blunt dissectors. Coronal sections were obtained according to the cuts originally described by Sachs. In addition, medial to lateral and lateral to medial dissection of the white matter of the occipital lobe was also performed.


A network of short association fibres was demonstrated in the occipital lobe, comprising intralobar association fibres and U-shaped fibres, which are connecting neighbouring gyri. Lateral to the ventricles, longitudinal fibres of the stratum sagittale were also identified that are arranged as external and internal layers. Fibres of the forceps major were also found to be in direct contact with the ventricular walls. We were able to replicate all tracts originally described by Sachs. In addition, a previously unrecognised tract, connecting the cuneus to the lingual gyrus, was identified. This tract corresponds to the “sledge runner”, described in tractography studies.


The occipital lobe shows a rich network of intralobar fibres, arranged around the ventricular wall. Good concordance was observed between the Klingler dissection technique and the histological preparations of Sachs.