Cerebellar Asymmetry and Cortical Connectivity in Monozygotic Twins with Discordant Handedness
Rosch RE., Cowell PE., Gurd JM.
© 2017 The Author(s) Handedness differentiates patterns of neural asymmetry and interhemispheric connectivity in cortical systems that underpin manual and language functions. Contemporary models of cerebellar function incorporate complex motor behaviour and higher-order cognition, expanding upon earlier, traditional associations between the cerebellum and motor control. Structural MRI defined cerebellar volume asymmetries and correlations with corpus callosum (CC) size were compared in 19 pairs of adult female monozygotic twins strongly discordant for handedness (MZHd). Volume and asymmetry of cerebellar lobules were obtained using automated parcellation.CC area and regional widths were obtained from midsagittal planimetric measurements. Within the cerebellum and CC, neurofunctional distinctions were drawn between motor and higher-order cognitive systems. Relationships amongst regional cerebellar asymmetry and cortical connectivity (as indicated by CC widths) were investigated. Interactions between hemisphere and handedness in the anterior cerebellum were due to a larger right-greater-than-left hemispheric asymmetry in right-handed (RH) compared to left-handed (LH) twins. In LH twins only, anterior cerebellar lobule volumes (IV, V) for motor control were associated with CC size, particularly in callosal regions associated with motor cortex connectivity. Superior posterior cerebellar lobule volumes (VI, Crus I, Crus II, VIIb) showed no correlation with CC size in either handedness group. These novel results reflected distinct patterns of cerebellar-cortical relationships delineated by specific CC regions and an anterior-posterior cerebellar topographical mapping. Hence, anterior cerebellar asymmetry may contribute to the greater degree of bilateral cortical organisation of frontal motor function in LH individuals.