Pars orbitalis

Last revised by Craig Hacking on 29 May 2018

The pars orbitalis refers to the most rostral portion of the inferior frontal gyrus in the frontal lobe of the brain. It is one of three parts that make up the inferior frontal gyrus along with the pars triangularis and pars opercularis 4-6. It plays a role in the language processing network of the brain.

The pars orbitalis lies ventral to the anterior horizontal ramus (a.k.a. anterior ramus) of the lateral sulcus (a.k.a. Sylvian fissure). It extends along the ventral most part of the lateral surface of the frontal lobe as far as the caudal segment of the lateral orbital sulcus 4-6.

It is supplied by the frontal branches of the middle cerebral artery.

Radiographically the pars orbitalis can be identified as the most rostral portion of the inferior frontal gyrus which takes on a characteristic “M” configuration. This is also referred to as the M sign when identifying the inferior frontal gyrus 3.

Although the pars orbitalis is not defined by cytoarchitecture, it is closely affiliated to Brodmann’s areas 47/12 1. Traditionally not considered to be a core language area, new studies suggest in the dominant hemisphere it plays a more significant role in language processing with its involvement in semantic processing, phonological processing and syntax 1. The function of the same cortical region in the non-dominant hemisphere is not as well documented but has been shown to be involved in behavioral and motor inhibition and deductive reasoning 2.

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1: neuroanatomy: lateral cortex (diagrams)
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  • Figure 2: neuroanatomy: lateral cortex (diagrams)
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