Callosal and cortical contribution to procedural learning.
Acallosal and callosotomized subjects usually show impairments on tasks requiring bilateral interdependent motor control. However, few studies have assessed the ability of these subjects to learn a skill that requires the simultaneous contribution of each hemisphere in its acquisition. The present study examined whether acallosal and callosotomized subjects could learn a visuomotor skill that involved a motor control from either both or a single hemisphere. Eleven adult patients, six acallosal and five callosotomized, participated in this study. Seven of these patients had epileptic foci located in the frontal and/or temporal areas and one of the acallosal patients showed bilateral prefrontal atrophy following surgical removal of an orbitofrontal cyst. The performance of the experimental subjects was compared with that of 11 matched control subjects, on a modified version of a serial reaction time task developed by Nissen and Bullemer (Cogn Psychol 1987; 19: 1-32). This skill acquisition task involved bimanual or unimanual key-pressing responses to a sequence of 10 visual stimuli that was repeated 160 times. A declarative memory task was then performed to assess explicit knowledge of the sequence. None of the experimental subjects learned the task in the bimanual condition. Patients with frontal epileptic foci or orbitofrontal damage also failed to learn the task in the unimanual condition when they were using the hand contralateral to the damaged hemisphere. All other subjects, including the acallosal and callosotomized patients with temporal foci, learned the visuomotor skill as well as their controls in the unimanual condition. In spite of the absence of transfer and interhemispheric integration of procedural learning, some of the acallosal and callosotomized patients were able to learn the sequence explicitly. These findings indicate that the corpus callosum and the frontal cortical areas are important for procedural learning of a visuomotor skill. They also confirm the dissociation described by Squire (Science 1986; 232: 1612-9 and J Cogn Neurosci 1992; 4: 232-43) between the declarative and procedural memory systems and extend this dissociation to processes involving simultaneous bihemispheric co-operation. (+info)
Abnormalities in neuronal process extension, hippocampal development, and the ventricular system of L1 knockout mice.
In humans, mutations in the L1 cell adhesion molecule are associated with a neurological syndrome termed CRASH, which includes corpus callosum agenesis, mental retardation, adducted thumbs, spasticity, and hydrocephalus. A mouse model with a null mutation in the L1 gene (Cohen et al., 1997) was analyzed for brain abnormalities by Nissl and Golgi staining and immunocytochemistry. In the motor, somatosensory, and visual cortex, many pyramidal neurons in layer V exhibited undulating apical dendrites that did not reach layer I. The hippocampus of L1 mutant mice was smaller than normal, with fewer pyramidal and granule cells. The corpus callosum of L1-minus mice was reduced in size because of the failure of many callosal axons to cross the midline. Enlarged ventricles and septal abnormalities were also features of the mutant mouse brain. Immunoperoxidase staining showed that L1 was abundant in developing neurons at embryonic day 18 (E18) in wild-type cerebral cortex, hippocampus, and corpus callosum and then declined to low levels with maturation. In the E18 cortex, L1 colocalized with microtubule-associated protein 2, a marker of dendrites and somata. These new findings suggest new roles for L1 in the mechanism of cortical dendrite differentiation, as well as in guidance of callosal axons and regulation of hippocampal development. The phenotype of the L1 mutant mouse indicates that it is a potentially valuable model for the human CRASH syndrome. (+info)
Reduction cranioplasty for macrocephaly. Two case reports.
Multi-stage reduction cranioplasty was performed on two children with severe macrocephaly secondary to hydrocephalus. One patient underwent a four-stage operation, and the other underwent a two-stage operation. The postoperative course of both patients was uneventful. Reduction cranioplasty improved quality of life for both patients, and good cosmetic results were achieved. Reduction cranioplasty is effective for the treatment of macrocephaly, and multi-stage surgery can reduce the associated risks. (+info)
Dissociation of the pathways mediating ipsilateral and contralateral motor-evoked potentials in human hand and arm muscles.
1. Growing evidence points toward involvement of the human motor cortex in the control of the ipsilateral hand. We used focal transcranial magnetic stimulation (TMS) to examine the pathways of these ipsilateral motor effects. 2. Ipsilateral motor-evoked potentials (MEPs) were obtained in hand and arm muscles of all 10 healthy adult subjects tested. They occurred in the finger and wrist extensors and the biceps, but no response or inhibitory responses were observed in the opponens pollicis, finger and wrist flexors and the triceps. 3. The production of ipsilateral MEPs required contraction of the target muscle. The threshold TMS intensity for ipsilateral MEPs was on average 1.8 times higher, and the onset was 5.7 ms later (in the wrist extensor muscles) compared with size-matched contralateral MEPs. 4. The corticofugal pathways of ipsilateral and contralateral MEPs could be dissociated through differences in cortical map location and preferred stimulating current direction. 5. Both ipsi- and contralateral MEPs in the wrist extensors increased with lateral head rotation toward, and decreased with head rotation away from, the side of the TMS, suggesting a privileged input of the asymmetrical tonic neck reflex to the pathway of the ipsilateral MEP. 6. Large ipsilateral MEPs were obtained in a patient with complete agenesis of the corpus callosum. 7. The dissociation of the pathways for ipsilateral and contralateral MEPs indicates that corticofugal motor fibres other than the fast-conducting crossed corticomotoneuronal system can be activated by TMS. Our data suggest an ipsilateral oligosynaptic pathway, such as a corticoreticulospinal or a corticopropriospinal projection as the route for the ipsilateral MEP. Other pathways, such as branching of corticomotoneuronal axons, a transcallosal projection or a slow-conducting monosynaptic ipsilateral pathway are very unlikely or can be excluded. (+info)
The homeodomain protein vax1 is required for axon guidance and major tract formation in the developing forebrain.
The homeodomain protein Vax1 is expressed in a highly circumscribed set of cells at the ventral anterior midline of the embryonic CNS. These cells populate the choroid fissure of the optic disk, the body of the optic stalk and nerve, the optic chiasm and ventral diencephalon, and the anterior midline zones that abut developing commissural tracts. We have generated mutant mice that lack Vax1. In these mice (1) the optic disks fail to close, leading to coloboma and loss of the eye-nerve boundary; (2) optic nerve glia fail to associate with and appear to repulse ingrowing retinal axons, resulting in a fascicle of axons that are completely segregated from optic nerve astrocytes; (3) retinal axons fail to penetrate the brain in significant numbers and fail to form an optic chiasm; and (4) axons in multiple commissural tracts of the anterior CNS, including the corpus callosum and the hippocampal and anterior commissures, fail to cross the midline. These axon guidance defects do not result from the death of normally Vax1(+) midline cells but, instead, correlate with markedly diminished expression of attractive guidance cues in these cells. Vax1 therefore regulates the guidance properties of a set of anterior midline cells that orchestrate axon trajectories in the developing mammalian forebrain. (+info)
Neuropathological abnormalities of the corpus callosum in schizophrenia: a diffusion tensor imaging study.
OBJECTIVES: Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI), a technique capable of examining water diffusion in different tissues and the organisation of white matter tracts, was used to investigate the neuropathology of the corpus callosum in vivo in patients with schizophrenia. METHODS: Diffusion tensor imaging was performed in 20 schizophrenic patients and 25 healthy controls. Two complementary measures, mean diffusivity and fractional anisotropy, which are considered to be sensitive indices of axonal integrity, were obtained from regions of interest in the genu (anterior) and splenium (posterior) of the corpus callosum. RESULTS: Mean diffusivity was significantly increased and fractional anisotropy significantly reduced in the splenium but not the genu of the corpus callosum in the schizophrenic group compared with controls. There were no significant sex differences in the DTI measures for either the schizophrenic or control group. Clinical variables such as age, duration of illness, dose of antipsychotic medication, and schizophrenic symptoms did not predict the DTI changes in the schizophrenic patients. CONCLUSIONS: The presence of DTI changes in the splenium but not the genu of the corpus callosum suggests that there may be a focal disruption of commisural connectivity in schizophrenia. However, these findings do not exclude the possibility of abnormalities in other areas of the corpus callosum or other regions of white matter and further research using different methods of analysis may enable us to clarify this. Diffusion tensor imaging is a valuable tool in investigating the structure of white matter in schizophrenia. (+info)
Parallel visuomotor processing in the split brain: cortico-subcortical interactions.
We tested nine patients with callosal pathology in a simple reaction time task with and without redundant targets in the same or opposite visual hemifield. Four patients showed large facilitation (redundancy gain) in the presence of a redundant target, exceeding probability summation models (neural summation). Five patients showed redundancy gain not exceeding probability models. Violation of probability models was not associated with a specific type of callosal lesion. Neural summation, which probably occurs at collicular level, may be modulated by cortical activity. To test this hypothesis, we used functional MRI. During detection of redundant simultaneous targets, activations in the extrastriate cortex were observed in a patient with callosal agenesis and redundancy gain violating probability models, but not in a patient with callosal agenesis and redundancy gain not exceeding probability models. We conclude that cortical activity in the extrastriate cortex may be a modulating factor in the magnitude of the redundancy gain during parallel visuomotor transforms. (+info)
Agenesis of corpus callosum - a rare case.
A case of corpus callosum agenesis associated with a chromosomal structural defect is described. (+info)