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Cortex. 2019 Dec;121:454-467. doi: 10.1016/j.cortex.2019.09.014. Epub 2019 Oct 23.

Anterior and posterior commissures in agenesis of the corpus callosum: Alternative pathways for attention processes?

Author information

1
Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Brain and Mind Research, Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia. Electronic address: vanessa.siffredi@gmail.com.
2
Brain and Mind Research, Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; School of Life and Health Sciences & Aston Neuroscience Institute, Aston University, Birmingham, B4 7ET, UK; School of Psychology, Faculty of Health, Melbourne Burwood Campus, Deakin University, Geelong, Victoria, Australia.
3
Department of Paediatrics, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Neurology, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia; Neuroscience Research, Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
4
Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University of Geneva, Switzerland; Brain and Emotion Laboratory, Department of Cognitive Neuroscience, Faculty of Psychology and Neuroscience, Maastricht University, Maastricht, Netherlands.
5
Brain and Mind Research, Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia.
6
Brain and Mind Research, Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; School of Psychological Sciences, University of Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia; Neuroscience Research, Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Department of Psychology, Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, Australia.
7
Laboratory for Behavioral Neurology and Imaging of Cognition, University of Geneva, Switzerland.
8
Brain and Mind Research, Clinical Sciences, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia; Turner Institute for Brain and Mental Health, School of Psychological Sciences, Monash University, Melbourne, Australia.

Abstract

Developmental absence (agenesis) of the corpus callosum (AgCC) is a congenital brain malformation resulting from disruption of corpus callosum formation, a structure that is crucial for the transfer and integration of information, including attention processes, across the brain. This study aimed to investigate previously proposed candidates for alternative inter-hemispheric pathways in AgCC by examining (1) white matter volume and microstructure of the anterior and posterior commissures in children with AgCC compared to typically developing controls (TDC), and (2) in children with AgCC, examine the associations of white matter volume and microstructure of the anterior and posterior commissures and any remaining corpus callosum with attention processes. Participants were 21 children with AgCC (13 complete, 8 partial) recruited from The Royal Children's Hospital, Melbourne, and 30 TDC aged 8-17 years. T1-and diffusion-weighted MR sequences were used to calculate volume and microstructural parameters. Neuropsychological testing assessed attention processes. We found the anterior commissure was significantly larger in volume in children with AgCC than TDC (p = .027), with reduced mean FA (p = .001) associated with increased mean RD (p < .001). In children with AgCC, we found microstructural properties of the anterior commissure associated with attentional processes, specifically, mean FA of the anterior commissure was associated with better divided attention (p = .03), and the association between alerting attention and mean AD and RD was found to be moderated by age (p = .027, p = .008) and the degree of corpus callosum agenesis (p = .025, p = .016). Furthermore, in partial AgCC, larger posterior commissure volume was associated with better orienting attention (p = .035). In conclusion, we provide evidence that the volume and microstructure of the anterior commissure are altered in children with AgCC, and this neuroplastic response might have an influence on attention processes.

KEYWORDS:

Agenesis of the corpus callosum; Alternative inter-hemispheric pathway; Anterior and posterior commissures; Attention processes; Development

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