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The Neural Tract Between the Hypothalamus and Basal Forebrain in the Ascending Reticular Activating System: A Diffusion Tensor Tractography Study

[ Vol. 15 , Issue. 4 ]


Sung Ho Jang and Hyeok Gyu Kwon*   Pages 369 - 372 ( 4 )


Objective: Ascending Reticular Activating System (ARAS) has a key role in consciousness. The ARAS is a complex network consisting of a portion of the brainstem reticular formation, nonspecific thalamic nuclei, hypothalamus, Basal Forebrain (BF), and cerebral cortex. We examined the reconstruction method and features of the neural tract between the hypothalamus and the BF in normal subjects, using Diffusion Tensor Tractography (DTT).

Methods: Twenty-three healthy subjects were recruited. The ARAS between the hypothalamus and the BF was reconstructed by two Regions of Interest (ROIs): 1) seed ROI - the isolated green portion for the BF on the color map, 2) target ROI - the hypothalamus on the axial image. DTT parameters of the ARAS between the hypothalamus and the BF were examined.

Results: Among 46 hemispheres in 23 normal subjects, 24 hemispheres (52.2 %) were identified in the ARAS between the hypothalamus and the BF. The reconstructed ARAS between the hypothalamus and the BF connected from the hypothalamus to the commissural level and anteriorly through the anterior commissure and then reached the BF.

Conclusion: Using DTT, the ARAS between the hypothalamus and the BF was identified in normal subjects. Because the hypothalamus and BF are related to the regulation of wakefulness and sleep, our reconstruction method and results would be useful in the research on sleep and wakefulness aspects of consciousness.


Ascending reticular activating system, basal forebrain, hypothalamus, consciousness, DTT, basal forebrain.


Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation, College of Medicine, Yeungnam University, Gyeongsan, Department of Physical Therapy, College of Health Sciences, Eulji University, Gyeonggi

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