The Corona Radiata and Stroke

Nerve bundle
Sherbrooke Connectivity Imaging Lab (SCIL

The corona radiata is a bundle of nerve fibers located in the brain. Specifically, the nerves of the corona radiata carry information between the brain cells of the cerebral cortex and the brain cells in the brain stem. The cerebral cortex is the area of the brain that is responsible for the processing of conscious information, while the brain stem is the connection between the spinal cord and the brain.

The brain stem and the cerebral cortex both are involved in sensation and motor function, and the corona radiata connects both motor and sensory nerve pathways between these structures.

What Does the Corona Radiata Do?

The corona radiata is an important group of nerves because of its role in the relationship between regions in the brain. The nerve cells of the corona radiata are described as both afferent and efferent. This means that they carry messages to and from the body. The term 'afferent' refers to sensory input and other input sent from the body to the brain, while the term 'efferent' refers to messages that are sent from the brain to the body to control motor function The corona radiata is involved in both afferent and efferent fibers that connect the cerebral cortex and the brain stem.

Corona Radiata Damage and Stroke

The corona radiata may be injured by a stroke involving small branches of blood vessels.

Strokes affecting the corona radiata are typically called subcortical strokes, lacunar strokes, small vessel strokes or white matter strokes. These terms are used to describe strokes that occur in an area of the brain typically described as the deep, subcortical white matter.

The reason that this region is described as white matter is that it is heavily 'myelinated,' which means that it is protected by a special kind of fatty tissue that insulates and protects nerve cells.

It is also described as subcortical because it is located in the subcortical region of the brain. And a corona radiata stroke is described as a 'lacunar stroke' or a 'small vessel stroke' because the corona radiata receives blood supply from small branches of the arteries in the brain.

People who suffer from multiple small strokes in the corona radiata or elsewhere in the brain are often described as having cerebrovascular disease, which is a condition characterized by narrow, blood clot prone blood vessels in the brain and small strokes. Many people who suffer from cerebrovascular disease have a condition called vascular dementia. In addition, sometimes strokes involving the corona radiata cause non specific symptoms such as the inability to care for oneself, which is a stroke predictor, even when there are no major signs of a stroke on a brain MRI or a Brain CT scan.

Besides a stroke, there are other types of problems that can cause damage to the corona radiata. These include brain tumors, spread of cancer from the body, head trauma, bleeding in the brain and brain infections. Any of these conditions can impact the function of the corona radiata.

Significance of the Corona Radiata

Interestingly, recent studies have pointed to a new role of the corona radiata in predicting stroke outcome.

Scientists evaluated the metabolism of various regions of the brain shorty after a stroke, using sophisticated imaging techniques. After evaluating patients' stroke recovery, it turned out that the function of the corona radiata within the first 24 hours after a stroke was correlated with predicting the outcome after a stroke.

Preventing Corona Radiata Stroke

Stroke prevention is a long term process that involves lifestyle habits and getting attention for medical problems. Smoking is a major stroke risk factor, so discontinuing smoking is an important part of stroke prevention. Eating a healthy diet and getting regular exercise are also components of stroke prevention.

Stress is another lifestyle issue that can contribute to stroke risk. Making efforts towards relaxation and decreasing stress has been shown to help prevent stroke.

In addition, addressing medical issues such as high cholesterol and high blood pressure can help reduce your risk of stroke. When it comes to stroke prevention, it is important to maintain regular check ups with your doctor, as many parts of the routine medical check up are designed to identify stroke risk.


Moulton E, Amor-Sahli M, Perlbarg V, Pires C, Crozier S, Galanaud D, Valabregue R, Yger M, Baronnet-Chauvet F, Samson Y, Dormont D, Rosso C. Axial Diffusivity of the Corona Radiata at 24 Hours Post-Stroke: A New Biomarker for Motor and Global Outcome,  PLoS One. 2015 Nov 12;10(11):e0142910

Edited by Heidi Moawad MD

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