Journal Article

Asymmetries of the planum temporale and Heschl's gyrus: relationship to language lateralization

Raquel Dorsaint-Pierre, Virginia B. Penhune, Kate E. Watkins, Peter Neelin, Jason P. Lerch, Marc Bouffard and Robert J. Zatorre

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 129, issue 5, pages 1164-1176
Published in print May 2006 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online March 2006 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awl055
Asymmetries of the planum temporale and Heschl's gyrus: relationship to language lateralization

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Morphological asymmetries favouring the left hemisphere in the planum temporale (PT) and Heschl's gyrus (HG) have both been presumed to relate to the typical left-hemisphere dominance for language functions. However, a direct link between structure and function has not been clearly established. The present study investigates this issue by measuring the volume of the PT and HG on the MRI scans of epilepsy patients classified into three groups: left speech group (LSG; n = 20), right speech group (RSG; n = 11) and bilateral speech group (BSG; n = 13), as assessed by the intracarotid Sodium Amytal procedure. Additionally, an automatic voxel-based morphometry (VBM) analysis was performed to explore collateral structural asymmetries. Although leftward structural asymmetries were found in the PT, consistent with the literature, they did not relate to language lateralization. For HG we also replicated asymmetries favouring the left side; interestingly, three of the individuals within the RSG showed a strongly reversed asymmetry, but as a whole the structure–function relationship for HG was not obligatory. The VBM analysis revealed a grey-matter concentration difference in the posterior part of the inferior frontal gyrus (pars opercularis, corresponding functionally to Broca's area), which favoured the left hemisphere in the LSG, and the right hemisphere in the RSG. The findings suggest that this frontal cortical region bears a direct relationship to language lateralization, which may be related to use-dependent plasticity in patients with language reorganization.

Keywords: hemispheric specialization; Heschl's gyrus; planum temporale; structural MRI; voxel-based morphometry; BSG = bilateral speech group; HG = Heschl's gyrus; IAP = intracarotid Amytal procedure; LSG = left speech group; PP = planum parietale; PT = planum temporale; RSG = right speech group; SF = sylvian fissure; VBM = voxel-based morphometry

Journal Article.  8539 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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