Journal Article

Language processing within the striatum: evidence from a PET correlation study in Huntington's disease

Marc Teichmann, Véronique Gaura, Jean-François Démonet, Frédéric Supiot, Marie Delliaux, Christophe Verny, Pierre Renou, Philippe Remy and Anne-Catherine Bachoud-Lévi

in Brain

Published on behalf of The Guarantors of Brain

Volume 131, issue 4, pages 1046-1056
Published in print April 2008 | ISSN: 0006-8950
Published online March 2008 | e-ISSN: 1460-2156 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awn036
Language processing within the striatum: evidence from a PET correlation study in Huntington's disease

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The role of sub-cortical structures in language processing, and more specifically of the striatum, remains controversial. In line with psycholinguistic models stating that language processing implies both the recovery of lexical information and the application of combinatorial rules, the striatum has been claimed to be involved either in the former component or in the latter. The present study reconciles these conflicting views by showing the striatum's involvement in both language processes, depending on distinct striatal sub-regions. Using PET scanning in a model of striatal disorders, namely Huntington's disease (HD), we correlated metabolic data of 31 early stage HD patients regarding different striatal sub-regions with behavioural scores on three rule/lexicon tasks drawn from word morphology, syntax and from a non-linguistic domain, namely arithmetic. Behavioural results reflected impairment on both processing aspects, while deficits predominated on rule application. Both correlated with the left striatum but involved distinct striatal sub-regions. We suggest that the left striatum encompasses linguistic and arithmetic circuits, which differ with respect to their anatomical and functional specification, comprising ventrally located regions dedicated to rule computations and more dorsal portions pertaining to lexical devices.

Keywords: striatum; language processing; PET imaging; Huntington's disease

Journal Article.  7749 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Neurology ; Neuroscience

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