Fissure of Rolando: Characteristics, Anatomy and Function


Fissure of Rolando: Characteristics, Anatomy and Function

Rolando’s fissure is a cleft that is found in the upper part of the brain of higher mammals.

This brain region that is also known as Rolando’s groove or central groove of the brain is characterized by separating the parietal lobe from the frontal lobe.

In this way, the Rolando fissure is a groove that is responsible for anatomically separating the two largest regions of the cerebral cortex.

The rolando fissure abuts on each side with the main motor cortex and the primary somatic-sensory cortex.

This article explains what is the fissure of rolando. Its characteristics and anatomical properties are reviewed, and the functions developed by this furrow of the brain are discussed.


The fissure of rolando is one of the main structures of the framework of the brain. This is constituted by two lateral hemispheres and a large commissure that unites them through the corpus callosum.

On the outer side of the brain there are two main fissures. Silvio’s fissure and Rolando’s fissure. The first constitutes a horizontal groove while the second forms a perpendicular fissure.

In this sense, the Rolando fissure is a large groove that is responsible for separating the frontal lobe (located in the frontal region of the brain) of the parietal lobe (located in the upper region of the brain).

Rolando’s groove is often referred to today as the central groove of the brain, since it results in a cleft that is located in the central region of the brain. Specifically, it starts in the middle of the skull and slides down to practically the height of the ears.

Rolando’s fissure nomenclature is due to the Italian anatomist Luigi Rolando, who is considered the discoverer of this region of the brain. However, the Rolando fissure was previously described (in 1786) by the French neuro-anatomist Felix Vicq d’Azyr.

On the other hand, the Latin term sculcus centralis (central groove) was coined by the German anatomist Emil Huschke. At present, both nomenclatures are accepted (Rolando’s fissure and central brain groove).


Rolando’s fissure is a groove that runs between the frontal lobes and the parietal lobes.

It encompasses both hemispheres of the brain, which is responsible for separating both the frontal lobe referring to the left hemisphere of the parietal lobe referring to the left hemisphere, and the frontal lobe referring to the right hemisphere of the parietal lobe referring to the right hemisphere.

Rolando’s fissure originates in the medial aspect of the cerebral hemisphere, approximately one centimeter behind the midpoint between the frontal and occipital poles.

In this region of the brain, the roland fissure forms a small groove or indentation, around which lies the para-central lobule, and describes a straight line in the anterior-inferior direction on the lateral side of the cerebral hemisphere.

Rolando’s fissure extends through practically the entire middle region of the cerebral cortex, ending very close to the posterior branch of the lateral sulcus. Specifically, Rolando’s fissure is separated from this region by the operculum.

Rolando’s fissure delimits the posterior region of the primary motor cortex, corresponding to area 4, of the somato-sensorial cortex, corresponding to areas 3, 1, and 2.

In these regions the movements are initiated and the sensitive information of the opposite side of the body is transmitted. That is, the information is sent from the somato-sensory cortex of the right hemisphere to the left region of the body and vice versa.


As mentioned, the main function of Rolando’s fissure is to divide and communicate the frontal lobe of the parietal lobe of the brain. These two structures constitute important regions of the cerebral cortex that perform important functions.

For example, the frontal lobe is a structure that gives rise to activities such as the management of working memory, long-term ideation, planning, behavior control or social cognition.

Likewise, the frontal lobe of the brain contains the motor cortex, including both the primary motor cortex and the pre-motor cortex and the supplementary motor area. In these regions a large part of the nerve impulses that are transmitted to give rise to the movement originate.

On the other hand, the parietal lobe is a brain structure that stands out for its integration function. Receives sensory stimuli from multiple brain regions. That is, it is a structure that is responsible for somesthetic processing.

Rolando’s fissure develops a main role when it comes to relating the motor activities carried out by the frontal lobe and the somesthetic processing carried out by the parietal lobe.

In this sense, the fissure of rolando integrates the sensory information collected by the different senses of the organism and unified in the parietal lobe, with the motor processes carried out in the frontal lobe that give rise to the movement.

Location of the fissure of Rolando

At present there is a certain controversy about the flexuosities that the central groove of the brain presents in its path. Some studies postulate that the Rolando sulcus has three curves and others describe the central groove made up of only two.

In this sense, the location of the central sulcus is a relevant medical element in patients who present brain tumors close to the sensory-motor cortex.

The investigations carried out show disparate data precisely because of the lack of consensus when establishing the path of the central groove of the brain.

Currently, the main technique to carry out such actions is magnetic resonance, a non-invasive study that allows to study the topography of the cortical surface.

Specifically, the main techniques described to locate the central groove through the anatomy of an MRI are:

Identify the shape of Omega corresponding to the motor area of ​​the hand.
Identify the typical course of the superior frontal sulcus and the pre-central sulcus.
Following the curos of the branches anterior horizontal and anterior ascending of the silviana fissure and the pre-central groove.

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