The cingulate gyrus and cingulate sulcus are the two components that make up the cingulate cortex. The cingulate cortex is involved in emotions, self-control, and problem solving.
In terms of the anatomy of the cingulate area in the brain the following nomenclature is important:
- Cerebral cortex: the few-millimeters of superficial layer of the brain with its characteristic foldings in higher animalia;
- The cortical foldings result in the formation of sulci and gyri (plural for sulcus and gyrus). Sulci are grooves, gyri are ridges. These wrinkles increase the cortical surface and allow more neurons to be packed onto the brain. Cortical neurons are important for higher cognitive functions, explaining why higher primates have a high density of sulci and gyri.
- The cingulate cortex comprises one sulcus and one gyrus: the cingulate sulcus and cingulate gyrus (Fig. 1) (Kandel et al., 2000). Hence, the cingulate gyrus is part of the cingulate cortex.
Regarding the functions associated with the cingulate region - The cingulate cortex is an integral part of the limbic system. The limbic system is the emotional control center of the brain. The cingulate cortex as such is involved in emotional self-control, focused problem solving, error recognition, and adaptive response to changing conditions (Allman et al, 2001). Especially the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) has received special attention, as it connects the limbic system with the “cognitive” prefrontal cortex. The ACC is thought to integrate the neuronal circuitry for affect regulation and a locus responsible for affective disorders (Stevens et al, 2011).
Fig. 1. The cingulate cortex comprises one sulcus and one gyrus. source: Wikipedia
- Allman et al, Annals NY Acad Sci (2001); 935: 107-17
- Kandel et al., The anatomical organization of the central nervous system. In: Principles of neural science 4the ed. (2000)
- Stevens et al., J Neuropsychiatry Clin Neurosci; 23(2): Spring 2011