Cingulate cortex

What is the cingulate cortex? 

The cingulate cortex is part of the medial frontal cortex, located immediately dorsal to the corpus callosum along the sagittal midline. The anterior cingulate cortex has three key divisions which may be functionally distinct (dorsal, rostral, subcallosal). The dorsal part of the anterior cingulate cortex has reciprocal connections with the prefrontal and parietal cortices as well as the frontal eye fields, and plays a primary role in balancing top-down and bottom-up processing of external stimuli; that is, monitoring behaviour and incoming stimuli in the context of current goals, and assigning control to other areas in the brain when required. By contrast, the ventral (rostral and subcallosal) parts of the anterior cingulate cortex are connected with amygdala, nucleus accumbens, hypothalamus, and insula, and are implicated in assessing the salience of sensory information, and regulating emotion and autonomic activity.

What is the evidence for cingulate cortex anomalies?

High quality evidence suggests significant reductions in total volume of the anterior cingulate cortex of people with schizophrenia compared to controls. Moderate quality evidence also suggests significant reductions in grey matter density in the anterior, posterior, and subgenual cingulate regions, particularly left hemisphere of first-episode and chronic schizophrenia patients, as well as people at high risk of schizophrenia. Moderate to low quality evidence reports reductions in white matter in the anterior and posterior cingulate cortex, including the cingulum bundle white matter.

Moderate quality evidence shows that during episodic memory encoding, there is decreased activity in the right posterior cingulate cortex and increased activity in the left cingulate cortex. During episodic memory retrieval, activity is decreased in the right cingulate cortex. Moderate to low quality evidence shows that during working memory tasks, there is increased activity in the anterior cingulate cortex and decreased activity in the posterior cingulate cortex. During executive functioning tasks, there is increased activity in the left cingulate cortex and decreased activity in right cingulate cortex. Moderate quality evidence suggests decreased N-acetylaspartate/creatine ratio in the anterior cingulate cortex of people with schizophrenia and their first-degree relatives.

March 2019

Last updated at: 3:44 am, 28th March 2019
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