Is there a consensus among anatomists about the proper use of the dorsal-ventral terminology when describing telencephalic structures in the human? Should the temporal lobe be considered ventral to the frontal lobe even though my understanding is that it doesn't develop from a part of the neuraxis ventral to the part from which the frontal lobe develops?
Thanks for your question. Perhaps a historical perspective will help you (and those who might read your question and others related to anatomical terminology.
There have been many efforts to standardize anatomical terminology since the late 1800's. A number of editions of the Nomina Anatomica were published under the auspices of the International Anatomical Nomenclature Committee (IANC) with the most recent 6th edition published by that group in 1989.
Along the way a dispute broke out over the editorial independence of the IANC and the member associations of the International Federation of Associations of Anatomists (IFAA). The IFAA created a new committee * the Federative Committee on Anatomical Terminology (FCAT) which took over the task of revising international anatomical terminology. The result was the publication, in 1998, of a "new, updated, simplified and uniform anatomical terminology," the Terminologia Anatomica (TA).
Now to your question: As you probably know at one point during human brain development the neural tube resembled a straw with both ends open. At this point a dorsal and ventral surface of the neural tube is identifiable. With the closure of these open ends (neuropores) and the appearance of the mesencephalic and cervical flexures that straw bends or flexes. However, the ventral surface of the spinal cord and brain stem remains continuous with the ventral surface of the hemispheres and the dorsal surface of the spinal cord and brain stem remains continuous with the dorsal surface of the hemispheres. The enormous growth and development of the hemispheres overshadows these flexures and obscures this simple dorsal/ventral distinction. The adult brain now has one cerebrum, two hemispheres, three poles, four surfaces and five lobes.
The Terminologia Anatomica describes a superolateral face (not surface!) of the cerebral hemisphere as well as a medial and inferior surface. The superior part of this superolateral face of the hemisphere is continuous with what was formerly the dorsal surface of the neural tube and the inferior surface of the hemisphere is continuous with the ventral surface of the neural tube. The TA does not use the terms rostral, caudal, dorsal and ventral for the surface features of the hemispheres but uses terms such as inferior, middle and superior as well as anterior and posterior. I suggest you follow the Terminologia Anatomica (TA). Ideally we should all follow this uniform anatomical terminology.
I have just finished a textbook of human neuroanatomy. During these past five or six years I have struggled greatly with the question of terminology. There is a tension between the terminology that appears in current textbooks, the terminology that may be in use by clinical faculty, the terminology used in research papers involving a variety of experimental animals including nonhuman primates and humans, and terminology found in the standardized lists of anatomical terms. By and large I have found the simplified and uniform anatomical terminology of the Terminologia Anatomica (TA) most helpful and have tried to follow it (with some exceptions).
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