Table of Contents
Epilepsy Research and Treatment
Volume 2012, Article ID 176157, 12 pages
Review Article

Anatomy of the Temporal Lobe

Department of Anatomy and Cell Biology, The University of Western Ontario, London, ON, Canada N6A 5C1

Received 6 October 2011; Accepted 3 December 2011

Academic Editor: Seyed M. Mirsattari

Copyright © 2012 J. A. Kiernan. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Only primates have temporal lobes, which are largest in man, accommodating 17% of the cerebral cortex and including areas with auditory, olfactory, vestibular, visual and linguistic functions. The hippocampal formation, on the medial side of the lobe, includes the parahippocampal gyrus, subiculum, hippocampus, dentate gyrus, and associated white matter, notably the fimbria, whose fibres continue into the fornix. The hippocampus is an inrolled gyrus that bulges into the temporal horn of the lateral ventricle. Association fibres connect all parts of the cerebral cortex with the parahippocampal gyrus and subiculum, which in turn project to the dentate gyrus. The largest efferent projection of the subiculum and hippocampus is through the fornix to the hypothalamus. The choroid fissure, alongside the fimbria, separates the temporal lobe from the optic tract, hypothalamus and midbrain. The amygdala comprises several nuclei on the medial aspect of the temporal lobe, mostly anterior the hippocampus and indenting the tip of the temporal horn. The amygdala receives input from the olfactory bulb and from association cortex for other modalities of sensation. Its major projections are to the septal area and prefrontal cortex, mediating emotional responses to sensory stimuli. The temporal lobe contains much subcortical white matter, with such named bundles as the anterior commissure, arcuate fasciculus, inferior longitudinal fasciculus and uncinate fasciculus, and Meyer’s loop of the geniculocalcarine tract. This article also reviews arterial supply, venous drainage, and anatomical relations of the temporal lobe to adjacent intracranial and tympanic structures.