The chimpanzee brain shows human-like perisylvian asymmetries in white matter.
ABSTRACT: Modern neuroimaging technologies allow scientists to uncover interspecies differences and similarities in hemispheric asymmetries that may shed light on the origin of brain asymmetry and its functional correlates. We analyzed asymmetries in ratios of white to grey matter in the lateral aspect of the lobes of the brains of chimpanzees. We found marked leftward asymmetries for all lobar regions. This asymmetry was particularly pronounced in the frontal region and was found to be related to handedness for communicative manual gestures as well as for tool use. These results point to a continuity in asymmetry patterns between the human and chimpanzee brain, and support the notion that the anatomical substrates for lateralization of communicative functions and complex manipulative activities may have been present in the common hominid ancestor.
Project description:Obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) is considered to be associated with atypical brain asymmetry. However, no study has examined the asymmetry in OCD from the perspective of cortical morphometry. This study is aimed to describe the characteristics of cortical asymmetry in OCD patients, and to investigate whether these features exist in their unaffected siblings - a vital step in identifying putative endophenotypes for OCD. A total of 48 subjects (16 OCD patients, 16 unaffected siblings, and 16 matched controls) were recruited who had complete magnetic resonance imaging scans. Left-right hemispheric asymmetries of cortical thickness were measured using a surface-based threshold-free cluster enhancement method. OCD patients and siblings both showed leftward asymmetries of cortical thickness in the anterior cingulate cortex (ACC), which showed a significant positive correlation with compulsive subscale scores. In addition, siblings and healthy controls showed significantly decreased leftward asymmetries in the orbitofrontal cortex (OFC), and the decreased leftward bias in the OFC was accompanied by lower scales on the Yale-Brown Obsessive-Compulsive Scale. To sum up, leftward asymmetries of cortical thickness in the ACC may represent an endophenotype of increased hereditary risk for OCD, while decreased leftward asymmetries of cortical thickness in the OFC may represent a protective factor.
Project description:Once considered a hallmark of human uniqueness, brain asymmetry has emerged as a feature shared with several other species, including chimpanzees, one of our closest living relatives. Most notable has been the discovery of asymmetries in homologues of cortical language areas in apes, particularly in the planum temporale (PT), considered a central node of the human language network. Several lines of evidence indicate a role for genetic mechanisms in the emergence of PT asymmetry; however, the genetic determinants of cerebral asymmetries have remained elusive. Studies in humans suggest that there is heritability of brain asymmetries of the PT, but this has not been explored to any extent in chimpanzees. Furthermore, the potential influence of non-genetic factors has raised questions about the reproducibility of earlier observations of PT asymmetry reported in chimpanzees. As such, the present study was aimed at examining both the heritability of phenotypic asymmetries in PT morphology, as well as their reproducibility. Using magnetic resonance imaging, we evaluated morphological asymmetries of PT surface area (mm<sup>2</sup>) and mean depth (mm) in captive chimpanzees (<i>n</i> = 291) derived from two genetically isolated populations. Our results confirm that chimpanzees exhibit a significant population-level leftward asymmetry for PT surface area, as well as significant heritability in the surface area and mean depth of the PT. These results conclusively demonstrate the existence of a leftward bias in PT asymmetry in chimpanzees and suggest that genetic mechanisms play a key role in the emergence of anatomical asymmetry in this region.
Project description:The aim of this study was to characterize, using fMRI, the functional asymmetries of hand laterality task (HLT) in a sample of 295 participants balanced for handedness. During HLT, participants have to decide whether the displayed picture of a hand represent a right or a left hand. Pictures of hands' back view were presented for 150 ms in the right or left hemifield. At the whole hemisphere level, we evidenced that the laterality of the hand and of the hemifield in which the picture was displayed combined their effects on the hemispheric asymmetry in an additive way. We then identified a set of 17 functional homotopic regions of interest (hROIs) including premotor, motor, somatosensory and parietal regions, whose activity and asymmetry varied with the laterality of the presented hands. When the laterality of a right hand had to be evaluated, these areas showed stronger leftward asymmetry, the hROI located in the primary motor area showing a significant larger effect than all other hROIs. In addition a subset of six parietal regions involved in visuo-motor integration together with two postcentral areas showed a variation in asymmetry with hemifield of presentation. Finally, while handedness had no effect at the hemispheric level, two regions located in the parietal operculum and intraparietal sulcus exhibited larger leftward asymmetry with right handedness independently of the hand of presentation. The present results extend those of previous works in showing a shift of asymmetries during HLT according to the hand presented in sensorimotor areas including primary motor cortex. This shift was not affected by manual preference. They also demonstrate that the coordination of visual information and handedness identification of hands relied on the coexistence of contralateral motor and visual representations in the superior parietal lobe and the postcentral gyrus.
Project description:Subcortical structures, which include the basal ganglia and parts of the limbic system, have key roles in learning, motor control and emotion, but also contribute to higher-order executive functions. Prior studies have reported volumetric alterations in subcortical regions in schizophrenia. Reported results have sometimes been heterogeneous, and few large-scale investigations have been conducted. Moreover, few large-scale studies have assessed asymmetries of subcortical volumes in schizophrenia. Here, as a work completely independent of a study performed by the ENIGMA consortium, we conducted a large-scale multisite study of subcortical volumetric differences between patients with schizophrenia and controls. We also explored the laterality of subcortical regions to identify characteristic similarities and differences between them. T1-weighted images from 1680 healthy individuals and 884 patients with schizophrenia, obtained with 15 imaging protocols at 11 sites, were processed with FreeSurfer. Group differences were calculated for each protocol and meta-analyzed. Compared with controls, patients with schizophrenia demonstrated smaller bilateral hippocampus, amygdala, thalamus and accumbens volumes as well as intracranial volume, but larger bilateral caudate, putamen, pallidum and lateral ventricle volumes. We replicated the rank order of effect sizes for subcortical volumetric changes in schizophrenia reported by the ENIGMA consortium. Further, we revealed leftward asymmetry for thalamus, lateral ventricle, caudate and putamen volumes, and rightward asymmetry for amygdala and hippocampal volumes in both controls and patients with schizophrenia. Also, we demonstrated a schizophrenia-specific leftward asymmetry for pallidum volume. These findings suggest the possibility of aberrant laterality in neural pathways and connectivity patterns related to the pallidum in schizophrenia.
Project description:Masapollo, Polka, and Ménard (2017) recently reported a robust directional asymmetry in unimodal visual vowel perception: Adult perceivers discriminate a change from an English /u/ viseme to a French /u/ viseme significantly better than a change in the reverse direction. This asymmetry replicates a frequent pattern found in unimodal auditory vowel perception that points to a universal bias favoring more extreme vocalic articulations, which lead to acoustic signals with increased formant convergence. In the present article, the authors report 5 experiments designed to investigate whether this asymmetry in the visual realm reflects a speech-specific or general processing bias. They successfully replicated the directional effect using Masapollo et al.'s dynamically articulating faces but failed to replicate the effect when the faces were shown under static conditions. Asymmetries also emerged during discrimination of canonically oriented point-light stimuli that retained the kinematics and configuration of the articulating mouth. In contrast, no asymmetries emerged during discrimination of rotated point-light stimuli or Lissajou patterns that retained the kinematics, but not the canonical orientation or spatial configuration, of the labial gestures. These findings suggest that the perceptual processes underlying asymmetries in unimodal visual vowel discrimination are sensitive to speech-specific motion and configural properties and raise foundational questions concerning the role of specialized and general processes in vowel perception. (PsycINFO Database Record
Project description:Structural asymmetries and sexual dimorphism of the human cerebral cortex have been identified in newborns, infants, children, adolescents, and adults. Some of these findings were linked with cognitive and neuropsychiatric disorders, which have roots in altered prenatal brain development. However, little is known about structural asymmetries or sexual dimorphism of transient fetal compartments that arise in utero. Thus, we aimed to identify structural asymmetries and sexual dimorphism in the volume of transient fetal compartments (cortical plate [CP] and subplate [SP]) across 22 regions. For this purpose, we used in vivo structural T2-weighted MRIs of 42 healthy fetuses (16.43-36.86 gestational weeks old, 15 females). We found significant leftward asymmetry in the volume of the CP and SP in the inferior frontal gyrus. The orbitofrontal cortex showed significant rightward asymmetry in the volume of CP merged with SP. Males had significantly larger volumes in regions belonging to limbic, occipital, and frontal lobes, which were driven by a significantly larger SP. Lastly, we did not observe sexual dimorphism in the growth trajectories of the CP or SP. In conclusion, these results support the hypothesis that structural asymmetries and sexual dimorphism in relative volumes of cortical regions are present during prenatal brain development.
Project description:Many past studies have suggested atypical functional and anatomical hemispheric asymmetries in autism spectrum disorder (ASD). However, almost all of these have examined only language-related asymmetries. Here, we conduct a comprehensive investigation of microstructural asymmetries across a large number of fiber tracts in ASD.We used diffusion tensor imaging for a comprehensive investigation of anatomical white matter asymmetries across the entire white matter skeleton, using tract-based spatial statistics in 41 children and adolescents with ASD and a matched group of 44 typically developing (TD) participants.We found significant asymmetries in the TD group, being rightward for fractional anisotropy and leftward for mean diffusivity (with concordant asymmetries for radial and axial diffusivity). These asymmetries were significantly reduced in the group with ASD: in whole brain analysis for fractional anisotropy, and in a region where several major association and projection tracts travel in close proximity within occipital white matter for mean diffusivity, axial diffusivity, and radial diffusivity. No correlations between global white matter asymmetry and age or socio-communicative abilities were detected.Our findings in TD children and adolescents can be interpreted as reflecting different processing modes (more integrative in the right and more specialized in the left hemisphere). These asymmetries and the "division of labor" between hemispheres implied by them appear to be diminished in autism spectrum disorder.
Project description:Cerebral asymmetry is considered an important marker of the successful development of the human brain. Recent studies have demonstrated topological asymmetries between structurally hemispheric networks in the human brain. However, it remains largely unknown whether and how the functionally topological asymmetries evolve from childhood to adulthood, a critical period that constitutes the primary peak of human brain and cognitive development. Here, we adopted resting-state functional near-infrared spectroscopy imaging data to construct hemispheric functional networks and then applied graph theory analysis to quantify the topological characteristics of the hemispheric networks. We found that the adult group exhibited consistent leftward hemispheric asymmetries in both global and local network efficiency, and the degree of leftward asymmetry in local network efficiency was significantly increased with development from childhood to adulthood. At the nodal level, the degree of leftward asymmetry in nodal efficiency, mainly involving the frontal, parietal-occipital junction, and occipital regions, increased with development. These developmental patterns of topological asymmetries suggest that the protracted maturation of functional segregation in the left hemisphere could underlie language development from childhood to adulthood and provide insight into the development of human brain functional networks.
Project description:Brain enlargement is associated with concomitant growth of interneuronal distance, increased conduction time, and reduced neuronal interconnectivity. Recognition of these functional constraints led to the hypothesis that large-brained mammals should exhibit greater structural and functional brain lateralization. As a taxon with the largest brains in the animal kingdom, Cetacea provides a unique opportunity to examine asymmetries of brain structure and function. In the present study, diffusion tensor imaging and tractography were used to investigate cerebral white matter asymmetry in the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus). Widespread white matter asymmetries were observed with the preponderance of tracts exhibiting leftward structural asymmetries. Leftward lateralization may reflect differential processing and execution of behaviorally variant sensory and motor functions by the cerebral hemispheres. The arcuate fasciculus, an association tract linked to human language evolution, was isolated and exhibited rightward asymmetry suggesting a right hemisphere bias for conspecific communication unlike that of most mammals. This study represents the first examination of cetacean white matter asymmetry and constitutes an important step toward understanding potential drivers of structural asymmetry and its role in underpinning functional and behavioral lateralization in cetaceans.
Project description:Objective:The current study examined gender-related differences in hemispheric asymmetries of graph metrics, calculated from a cortical thickness-based brain structural covariance network named hemispheric morphological network. Methods:Using the T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans of 285 participants (150 females, 135 males) retrieved from the Human Connectome Project (HCP), hemispheric morphological networks were constructed per participant. In these hemispheric morphologic networks, the degree of similarity between two different brain regions in terms of the distributed patterns of cortical thickness values (the Jensen-Shannon divergence) was defined as weight of network edge that connects two different brain regions. After the calculation and summation of global and local graph metrics (across the network sparsity levels K = 0.10-0.36), asymmetry indexes of these graph metrics were derived. Results:Hemispheric morphological networks satisfied small-worldness and global efficiency for the network sparsity ranges of K = 0.10-0.36. Between-group comparisons (female versus male) of asymmetry indexes revealed opposite directionality of asymmetries (leftward versus rightward) for global metrics of normalized clustering coefficient, normalized characteristic path length, and global efficiency (all p < 0.05). For the local graph metrics, larger rightward asymmetries of cingulate-superior parietal gyri for nodal efficiency in male compared to female, larger leftward asymmetry of temporal pole for degree centrality in female compared to male, and opposite directionality of interhemispheric asymmetry of rectal gyrus for degree centrality between female (rightward) and male (leftward) were shown (all p < 0.05). Conclusion:Patterns of interhemispheric asymmetries for cingulate, superior parietal gyrus, temporal pole, and rectal gyrus are different between male and female for the similarities of the cortical thickness distribution with other brain regions. Accordingly, possible effect of gender-by-hemispheric interaction has to be considered in future studies of brain morphology and brain structural covariance networks.