gms | German Medical Science

56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e. V. (DGNC)
3èmes journées françaises de Neurochirurgie (SFNC)

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e. V.
Société Française de Neurochirurgie

07. bis 11.05.2005, Strasbourg

Functional anatomy of language: the writing process in Broca's and Exners's areas

Meeting Abstract

  • corresponding author V. Lubrano - Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Toulouse
  • F.-E. Roux - Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Toulouse
  • J.-A. Lotterie - Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Toulouse
  • E. Cassol - Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Toulouse
  • J.-F. Démonet - Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Toulouse
  • I. Berry - Centre Hospitalier Universitaire, Toulouse

Deutsche Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie. Société Française de Neurochirurgie. 56. Jahrestagung der Deutschen Gesellschaft für Neurochirurgie e.V. (DGNC), 3èmes journées françaises de Neurochirurgie (SFNC). Strasbourg, 07.-11.05.2005. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc11.05.-02.05

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: May 4, 2005

© 2005 Lubrano et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Following Broca's and Wernicke's works on language organization, Exner (1881) postulated that writing could be sustained by a specific frontal brain area. By using modern brain mapping techniques, we aimed at understanding the role of the frontal areas when one writes. In our first study, 14 patients operated on frontal brain tumors were tested by direct cortical stimulation technique for language brain mapping. This mapping included a writing task. In a second study, we measured the cerebral activity of 12 healthy right-handed volunteers who underwent functional MR imaging while they performed repetition and writing tasks. We demonstrated that the left inferior premotor and prefrontal cortex (LIPC) is strongly implicated in writing. We also noted a functional specialization in the LIPC for oral as well as written languages: the ventral LIPC rather deals with semantic processing and dorsal LIPC deals with phonological processing. Exner's area was identified and its main role in the encoding of gesture related to grapheme generation confirmed. Broca's and Exner's areas are closely linked together, but we managed to establish the role they play in writing. From our results we suggest that the patients should be made to write during the language brain mappings of selected surgical cases to avoid post-operative agraphia.