Surgical and Radiologic Anatomy

, Volume 36, Issue 2, pp 111–124 | Cite as

Corticospinal tract asymmetry and handedness in right- and left-handers by diffusion tensor tractography

  • Romuald Seizeur
  • Elsa Magro
  • Sylvain Prima
  • Nicolas Wiest-Daesslé
  • Camille Maumet
  • Xavier Morandi
Original Article



Cerebral hemispheres represent both structural and functional asymmetry, which differs among right- and left-handers. The left hemisphere is specialised for language and task execution of the right hand in right-handers. We studied the corticospinal tract in right- and left-handers by diffusion tensor imaging and tractography. The present study aimed at revealing a morphological difference resulting from a region of interest (ROI) obtained by functional MRI (fMRI).


Twenty-five healthy participants (right-handed: 15, left-handed: 10) were enrolled in our assessment of morphological, functional and diffusion tensor MRI. Assessment of brain fibre reconstruction (tractography) was done using a deterministic algorithm. Fractional anisotropy (FA) and mean diffusivity (MD) were studied on the tractography traces of the reference slices.


We observed a significant difference in number of leftward fibres based on laterality. The significant difference in regard to FA and MD was based on the slices obtained at different levels and the laterality index. We found left-hand asymmetry and right-hand asymmetry, respectively, for the MD and FA.


Our study showed the presence of hemispheric asymmetry based on laterality index in right- and left-handers. These results are inconsistent with some studies and consistent with others. The reported difference in hemispheric asymmetry could be related to dexterity (manual skill).


Corticospinal tract Deterministic tractography Diffusion tensor imaging Anatomy MRI 



The authors would like to warmly thank Zarrin Alavi (MSc), INSERM CIC 0502, for her assistance to realize this manuscript.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no conflict of interest in the realization of this study.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag France 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Romuald Seizeur
    • 1
    • 2
  • Elsa Magro
    • 2
  • Sylvain Prima
    • 3
  • Nicolas Wiest-Daesslé
    • 3
  • Camille Maumet
    • 3
  • Xavier Morandi
    • 4
    • 5
  1. 1.INSERM UMR 1101LaTIM, Université de BrestBrestFrance
  2. 2.Service de Neurochirurgie, Pôle NeurolocomoteurCHRU Cavale BlancheBrestFrance
  3. 3.IRISAU746, Unité VisAGeS INSERM/INRIA/CNRS/Université. Rennes 1RennesFrance
  4. 4.INSERM U 1099Equipe MediCIS, Faculté de MédecineRennesFrance
  5. 5.Service de NeurochirurgieCHU PontchaillouRennesFrance

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