Discover the most talked about and latest scientific content & concepts.

Concept: Agenesis of the corpus callosum


The corpus callosum is the major axon tract that connects and integrates neural activity between the two cerebral hemispheres. Although ∼1:4,000 children are born with developmental absence of the corpus callosum, the primary etiology of this condition remains unknown. Here, we demonstrate that midline crossing of callosal axons is dependent upon the prior remodeling and degradation of the intervening interhemispheric fissure. This remodeling event is initiated by astroglia on either side of the interhemispheric fissure, which intercalate with one another and degrade the intervening leptomeninges. Callosal axons then preferentially extend over these specialized astroglial cells to cross the midline. A key regulatory step in interhemispheric remodeling is the differentiation of these astroglia from radial glia, which is initiated by Fgf8 signaling to downstream Nfi transcription factors. Crucially, our findings from human neuroimaging studies reveal that developmental defects in interhemispheric remodeling are likely to be a primary etiology underlying human callosal agenesis.

Concepts: Radial glia, Nervous system, Neuron, White matter, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Corpus callosum, Cerebrum, Cerebral hemisphere


The corpus callosum is hypothesized to play a fundamental role in integrating information and mediating complex behaviors. Here, we demonstrate that lack of normal callosal development can lead to deficits in functional connectivity that are related to impairments in specific cognitive domains. We examined resting-state functional connectivity in individuals with agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC) and matched controls using magnetoencephalographic imaging (MEG-I) of coherence in the alpha (8-12 Hz), beta (12-30 Hz) and gamma (30-55 Hz) bands. Global connectivity (GC) was defined as synchronization between a region and the rest of the brain. In AgCC individuals, alpha band GC was significantly reduced in the dorsolateral pre-frontal (DLPFC), posterior parietal (PPC) and parieto-occipital cortices (PO). No significant differences in GC were seen in either the beta or gamma bands. We also explored the hypothesis that, in AgCC, this regional reduction in functional connectivity is explained primarily by a specific reduction in interhemispheric connectivity. However, our data suggest that reduced connectivity in these regions is driven by faulty coupling in both inter- and intrahemispheric connectivity. We also assessed whether the degree of connectivity correlated with behavioral performance, focusing on cognitive measures known to be impaired in AgCC individuals. Neuropsychological measures of verbal processing speed were significantly correlated with resting-state functional connectivity of the left medial and superior temporal lobe in AgCC participants. Connectivity of DLPFC correlated strongly with performance on the Tower of London in the AgCC cohort. These findings indicate that the abnormal callosal development produces salient but selective (alpha band only) resting-state functional connectivity disruptions that correlate with cognitive impairment. Understanding the relationship between impoverished functional connectivity and cognition is a key step in identifying the neural mechanisms of language and executive dysfunction in common neurodevelopmental and psychiatric disorders where disruptions of callosal development are consistently identified.

Concepts: Cognition, Brain, Temporal lobe, Cerebral hemisphere, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Corpus callosum, Psychology, Cerebrum


The use of cannabis with higher ��9-tetrahydrocannabinol content has been associated with greater risk, and earlier onset, of psychosis. However, the effect of cannabis potency on brain morphology has never been explored. Here, we investigated whether cannabis potency and pattern of use are associated with changes in corpus callosum (CC) microstructural organization, in patients with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and individuals without psychosis, cannabis users and non-users. Method The CC of 56 FEP (37 cannabis users) and 43 individuals without psychosis (22 cannabis users) was virtually dissected and segmented using diffusion tensor imaging tractography. The diffusion index of fractional anisotropy, mean diffusivity (MD), axial diffusivity (AD) and radial diffusivity was calculated for each segment.

Concepts: Cerebrum, Neuroimaging, Tensors, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Imaging, Diffusion MRI, Corpus callosum, Magnetic resonance imaging


We report a patient who presented with callosal disconnection syndrome (CDS) and fiber disconnection on diffusion tensor tractography (DTT) after an infarct of the corpus callosum (CC). A 72-year-old woman presented with manifestations of CDS, including frontal alien hand syndrome (AHS), left agraphia, right hemiparesis, right somatosensory deficit, left neglect, and impaired visual recognition. DTT was performed for the evaluation of CC fibers, followed by comparison with DTT findings of normal subjects. DTT of the normal subject revealed bilateral extension of CC fibers to the frontal, parietal, and occipitotemporal cortices. By contrast, CC fibers of the patient revealed extensive disruption, with the exception of CC fibers passing through the anterior genu and the posterior splenium. The extensive disruption of CC fibers appears to explain the patient’s various CDS symptoms. In brief, DTT could be useful for detection of CC lesions in patients with CDS.

Concepts: Patient, Genu of the corpus callosum, Neurological disorders, Cerebrum, Splenium, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Alien hand syndrome, Corpus callosum


OPINION STATEMENT: Background: Optic nerve hypoplasia (ONH) has developed into a leading cause of congenital blindness. The frequently associated features of hypopituitarism and absent septum pellucidum were felt to have embryonic linkage as “septo-optic dysplasia” or “de Morsier’s syndrome.” More recent studies have suggested these associations are independent of one another. This review provides an assessment of the historical and recent evidence linking neuroradiologic, endocrinologic and developmental morbidity in patients with ONH. The prenatal risk factors, heritability, and genetic mutations associated with ONH are described. Results: Recognition of the critical association of ONH with hypopituitarism should be attributed to William Hoyt, not Georges de Morsier. De Morsier never described a case of ONH or recognized its association with hypopituitarism or missing septum pellucidum. Hypopituitarism is caused by hypothalamic dysfunction. This, and other more recently identified associations with ONH, such as developmental delay and autism, are independent of septum pellucidum development. Other common neuroradiographic associations such as corpus callosum hypoplasia, gyrus dysplasia, and cortical heterotopia may have prognostic significance. The predominant prenatal risk factors for ONH are primiparity and young maternal age. Presumed risk factors such as prenatal exposure to drugs and alcohol are not supported by scrutiny of the literature. Heritability and identified gene mutations in cases of ONH are rare. Conclusion: Children with ONH require monitoring for many systemic, developmental, and even life-threatening problems independent of the severity of ONH and presence of brain malformations including abnormalities of the septum pellucidum. “Septo-optic dysplasia” and “de Morsier’s syndrome” are historically inaccurate and clinically misleading terms.

Concepts: Hypopituitarism, Corpus callosum, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Cerebrum, Mutation, Optic nerve hypoplasia, Genetics, Septo-optic dysplasia


PURPOSE: Segmentation and diffusion-tensor-imaging of the corpus callosum (CC) have been linked to gait impairment. However, such measurements are impracticable in clinical routine. The purpose of this study was to evaluate the association between simple linear measurements of CC thickness with gait. METHODS: Two hundred and seventy-two community-dwelling subjects underwent neurological assessment and brain MRI. Mid-sagittal reformats of T1-weighted images were used to determine CC thickness. The association of measurements with clinical evaluation of gait was assessed by multivariate regression, controlling for numerous clinical and imaging confounders. Differences in CC thickness were, moreover, compared between subgroups with no, moderate or severe impairment of gait. RESULTS: In univariate analyses, thickness of the genu and body of CC but not the splenium were associated with postural stability (P < 0.01). Multivariate regression revealed thickness of CC genu as the only imaging variable independently associated with gait (P = 0.01). Genu thickness was significantly different between subjects with high and low (P = 0.0003) or high and moderate (P = 0.001) risk of fall. CONCLUSION: Atrophy of the CC genu is an imaging marker of gait impairment in the elderly suggesting higher risk of fall. Simple linear measurements of CC can help in MRI evaluation of patients with gait impairment. KEY POINTS : • Regional atrophy of the corpus callosum reflects disruption of gait regulation • Genu thickness on cranial MRI is an independent marker of gait impairment • Findings help in the MRI evaluation of patients with gait impairment.

Concepts: Magnetic resonance imaging, Splenium, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Genu of the corpus callosum, Assessment, Brain, Univariate, Corpus callosum


Williams syndrome is a neurodevelopmental genetic disorder caused by a hemizygous deletion on chromosome 7q11.23, resulting in atypical brain structure and function, including abnormal morphology of the corpus callosum. An influence of handedness on the size of the corpus callosum has been observed in studies of typical individuals, but handedness has not been taken into account in studies of callosal morphology in Williams syndrome. We hypothesized that callosal area is smaller and the size of the splenium and isthmus is reduced in individuals with Williams syndrome compared to healthy controls, and examined age, sex, and handedness effects on corpus callosal area. Structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained on 25 individuals with Williams syndrome (18 right-handed, 7 left-handed) and 25 matched controls. We found that callosal thickness was significantly reduced in the splenium of Williams syndrome individuals compared to controls. We also found novel evidence that the callosal area was smaller in left-handed participants with Williams syndrome than their right-handed counterparts, with opposite findings observed in the control group. This novel finding may be associated with LIM-kinase hemizygosity, a characteristic of Williams syndrome. The findings may have significant clinical implications in future explorations of the Williams syndrome cognitive phenotype.

Concepts: Handedness, Left-handedness, Scientific method, Magnetic resonance imaging, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Splenium, Brain, Corpus callosum


Abnormalities in the corpus callosum have been reported in individuals with autism spectrum disorder (ASD), but few studies have evaluated young children. Sex differences in callosal organization and diffusion characteristics have also not been evaluated fully in ASD.

Concepts: PDD-NOS, Pervasive developmental disorder, Asperger syndrome, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Autism spectrum, Autism, Corpus callosum


Purpose To analyze the integrity of white matter (WM) tracts in primary insomnia patients and provide better characterization of abnormal WM integrity and its relationship with disease duration and clinical features of primary insomnia. Materials and Methods This prospective study was approved by the ethics committee of the Guangdong No. 2 Provincial People’s Hospital. Tract-based spatial statistics were used to compare changes in diffusion parameters of WM tracts from 23 primary insomnia patients and 30 healthy control (HC) participants, and the accuracy of these changes in distinguishing insomnia patients from HC participants was evaluated. Voxel-wise statistics across subjects was performed by using a 5000-permutation set with family-wise error correction (family-wise error, P < .05). Multiple regressions were used to analyze the associations between the abnormal fractional anisotropy (FA) in WM with disease duration, Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index, insomnia severity index, self-rating anxiety scale, and the self-rating depression scale in primary insomnia. Characteristics for abnormal WM were also investigated in tract-level analyses. Results Primary insomnia patients had lower FA values mainly in the right anterior limb of the internal capsule, right posterior limb of the internal capsule, right anterior corona radiata, right superior corona radiata, right superior longitudinal fasciculus, body of the corpus callosum, and right thalamus (P < .05, family-wise error correction). The receiver operating characteristic areas for the seven regions were acceptable (range, 0.60-0.74; 60%-74%). Multiple regression models showed abnormal FA values in the thalamus and body corpus callosum were associated with the disease duration, self-rating depression scale, and Pittsburgh Sleep Quality Index scores. Tract-level analysis suggested that the reduced FA values might be related to greater radial diffusivity. Conclusion This study showed that WM tracts related to regulation of sleep and wakefulness, and limbic cognitive and sensorimotor regions, are disrupted in the right brain in patients with primary insomnia. The reduced integrity of these WM tracts may be because of loss of myelination. (©) RSNA, 2016.

Concepts: Agenesis of the corpus callosum, White matter, Hypnotic, Sleep deprivation, Corpus callosum, Cerebrum, Linear regression, Regression analysis


Musical training leads to sensory and motor neuroplastic changes in the human brain. Motivated by findings on enlarged corpus callosum in musicians and asymmetric somatomotor representation in string players, we investigated the relationship between musical training, callosal anatomy, and interhemispheric functional symmetry during music listening. Functional symmetry was increased in musicians compared to nonmusicians, and in keyboardists compared to string players. This increased functional symmetry was prominent in visual and motor brain networks. Callosal size did not significantly differ between groups except for the posterior callosum in musicians compared to nonmusicians. We conclude that the distinctive postural and kinematic symmetry in instrument playing cross-modally shapes information processing in sensory-motor cortical areas during music listening. This cross-modal plasticity suggests that motor training affects music perception.

Concepts: Music, Agenesis of the corpus callosum, Musical instrument, Nervous system, Cerebrum, Corpus callosum, Brain, Cerebral cortex