White matter hemisphere asymmetries in healthy subjects and in schizophrenia: A diffusion tensor MRI study

Clinical Neuroscience Division, Laboratory of Neuroscience, Boston VA Health Care System-Brockton Division, Department of Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School, Boston, MA 02301, USA.
NeuroImage (Impact Factor: 6.36). 10/2004; 23(1):213-23. DOI: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2004.04.036
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Hemisphere asymmetry was explored in normal healthy subjects and in patients with schizophrenia using a novel voxel-based tensor analysis applied to fractional anisotropy (FA) of the diffusion tensor. Our voxel-based approach, which requires precise spatial normalization to remove the misalignment of fiber tracts, includes generating a symmetrical group average template of the diffusion tensor by applying nonlinear elastic warping of the demons algorithm. We then normalized all 32 diffusion tensor MRIs from healthy subjects and 23 from schizophrenic subjects to the symmetrical average template. For each brain, six channels of tensor component images and one T2-weighted image were used for registration to match tensor orientation and shape between images. A statistical evaluation of white matter asymmetry was then conducted on the normalized FA images and their flipped images. In controls, we found left-higher-than-right anisotropic asymmetry in the anterior part of the corpus callosum, cingulum bundle, the optic radiation, and the superior cerebellar peduncle, and right-higher-than-left anisotropic asymmetry in the anterior limb of the internal capsule and the anterior limb's prefrontal regions, in the uncinate fasciculus, and in the superior longitudinal fasciculus. In patients, the asymmetry was lower, although still present, in the cingulum bundle and the anterior corpus callosum, and not found in the anterior limb of the internal capsule, the uncinate fasciculus, and the superior cerebellar peduncle compared to healthy subjects. These findings of anisotropic asymmetry pattern differences between healthy controls and patients with schizophrenia are likely related to neurodevelopmental abnormalities in schizophrenia.

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    • "In that context, WM asymmetries have been observed, mainly focusing on the arcuate fasciculus because of its relationship to hemispheric specialization of language [e.g., Buchel et al., 2004; Catani et al., 2007; Nucifora et al., 2005; Rodrigo et al., 2007; Takao et al., 2011; Thiebaut de Schotten et al., 2011; Vernooij et al., 2007]. Other DTI studies have explored fractional anisotropy asymmetry in the cingulum [e.g., Gong et al., 2005; Kubicki et al., 2003; Takao et al., 2011], corticospinal tract [e.g., Park et al., 2004; Westerhausen et al., 2007], and uncinate fasciculus [Kubicki et al., 2002]. Our understanding of structural asymmetries is still largely limited to the level of individual structures. "
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    ABSTRACT: The study on structural brain asymmetries in healthy individuals plays an important role in our understanding of the factors that modulate cognitive specialization in the brain. Here, we used fiber tractography to reconstruct the left and right hemispheric networks of a large cohort of 346 healthy participants (20–86 years) and performed a graph theoretical analysis to investigate this brain laterality from a network perspective. Findings revealed that the left hemisphere is significantly more “efficient” than the right hemisphere, whereas the right hemisphere showed higher values of “betweenness centrality” and “small-worldness.” In particular, left-hemispheric networks displayed increased nodal efficiency in brain regions related to language and motor actions, whereas the right hemisphere showed an increase in nodal efficiency in brain regions involved in memory and visuospatial attention. In addition, we found that hemispheric networks decrease in efficiency with age. Finally, we observed significant gender differences in measures of global connectivity. By analyzing the structural hemispheric brain networks, we have provided new insights into understanding the neuroanatomical basis of lateralized brain functions. Hum Brain Mapp, 2014. © 2014 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
    Human Brain Mapping 09/2014; 35(9). DOI:10.1002/hbm.22524 · 5.97 Impact Factor
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    • "For instance, the normal leftward asymmetry of the arcuate fasciculus [16], [17] is disturbed in left, but not right, TLE [4], [15], [18]. In contrast, the uncinate fasciculus has a normal rightward asymmetry with higher FA and more fibers on the right [19], [20], creating the possibility of higher WM risk in those tracts specifically bearing the burden of seizure dispersion (i.e., the uncinate [21]). "
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    ABSTRACT: Anterior temporal lobectomy (ATL) is commonly adopted to control medically intractable temporal lobe epilepsy (TLE). Depending on the side of resection, the degree to which Wallerian degeneration and adaptive plasticity occur after ATL has important implications for understanding cognitive and clinical outcome. We obtained diffusion tensor imaging from 24 TLE patients (12 left) before and after surgery, and 12 matched controls at comparable time intervals. Voxel-based analyses were performed on fractional anisotropy (FA) before and after surgery. Areas with postoperative FA increase were further investigated to distinguish between genuine plasticity and processes related to the degeneration of crossing fibers. Before surgery, both patient groups showed bilateral reduced FA in numerous tracts, but left TLE patients showed more extensive effects, including language tracts in the contralateral hemisphere (superior longitudinal fasciculus and uncinate). After surgery, FA decreased ipsilaterally in both ATL groups, affecting the fornix, uncinate, stria terminalis, and corpus callosum. FA increased ipsilaterally along the superior corona radiata in both left and right ATL groups, exceeding normal FA values. In these clusters, the mode of anisotropy increased as well, confirming fiber degeneration in an area with crossing fibers. In left ATL patients, pre-existing low FA values in right superior longitudinal and uncinate fasciculi normalized after surgery, while MO values did not change. Preoperative verbal fluency correlated with FA values in all areas that later increased FA in left TLE patients, but postoperative verbal fluency correlated only with FA of the right superior longitudinal fasciculus. Our results demonstrate that genuine reorganization occurs in non-dominant language tracts after dominant hemisphere resection, a process that may help implement the inter-hemispheric shift of language activation found in fMRI studies. The results indicate that left TLE patients, despite showing more initial white matter damage, have the potential for greater adaptive changes postoperatively than right TLE patients.
    PLoS ONE 08/2014; 9(8):e104211. DOI:10.1371/journal.pone.0104211 · 3.23 Impact Factor
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    • "In contrast, there was no evidence of asymmetry in the UF in the whole sample or either group. Asymmetries in white matter tracts of healthy volunteers are often reported (Vernooij et al., 2007; Iturria-Medina et al., 2011), whilst schizophrenia patients tend to have reduced asymmetry (Park et al., 2004) including the UF (Kubicki et al., 2002). Regarding the UF, the extent to which asymmetry exists in healthy controls is debated (Rodrigo et al., 2007; Lebel et al., 2008; Hasan et al., 2009). "
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    ABSTRACT: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) studies have identified changes in white matter tracts in schizophrenia patients and those at high risk of transition. Schizotypal samples represent a group on the schizophrenia continuum that share some aetiological risk factors but without the confounds of illness. The aim of the current study was to compare tract microstructural coherence as measured by fractional anisotropy (FA) between 12 psychometrically defined schizotypes and controls. We investigated bilaterally the uncinate and arcuate fasciculi (UF and AF) via a probabilistic tractography algorithm (PICo), with FA values compared between groups. Partial correlations were also examined between measures of subclinical hallucinatory/delusional experiences and FA values. Participants with schizotypal features were found to have increased FA values in the left hemisphere UF only. In the whole sample there was a positive correlation between FA values and measures of hallucinatory experience in the right AF. These findings suggest subtle changes in microstructural coherence are found in individuals with schizotypal features, but are not similar to changes predominantly observed in clinical samples. Correlations between mild hallucinatory experience and FA values could indicate increasing tract coherence could be associated with symptom formation.
    10/2013; 221(1). DOI:10.1016/j.pscychresns.2013.10.006
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