Brain Structure and Function

, Volume 220, Issue 1, pp 273–290 | Cite as

Bimanual motor deficits in older adults predicted by diffusion tensor imaging metrics of corpus callosum subregions

  • L. Serbruyns
  • J. Gooijers
  • K. Caeyenberghs
  • R. L. Meesen
  • K. Cuypers
  • H. M. Sisti
  • A. Leemans
  • Stephan P. Swinnen
Original Article


Age-related changes in the microstructural organization of the corpus callosum (CC) may explain declines in bimanual motor performance associated with normal aging. We used diffusion tensor imaging in young (n = 33) and older (n = 33) adults to investigate the microstructural organization of seven specific CC subregions (prefrontal, premotor, primary motor, primary sensory, parietal, temporal and occipital). A set of bimanual tasks was used to assess various aspects of bimanual motor functioning: the Purdue Pegboard test, simultaneous and alternating finger tapping, a choice reaction time test and a complex visuomotor tracking task. The older adults showed age-related deficits on all measures of bimanual motor performance. Correlation analyses within the older group showed that white matter fractional anisotropy of the CC occipital region was associated with bimanual fine manipulation skills (Purdue Pegboard test), whereas better performance on the other bimanual tasks was related to higher fractional anisotropy in the more anterior premotor, primary motor and primary sensory CC subregions. Such associations were less prominent in the younger group. Our findings suggest that structural alterations of subregional callosal fibers may account for bimanual motor declines in normal aging.


Aging Bimanual coordination Corpus callosum DTI Fractional anisotropy 



Axial diffusivity


Corpus callosum


Diffusion tensor imaging


Fractional anisotropy


Isofrequency ratios


Non-isofrequency ratios


Older adults


Radial diffusivity


Young adults



This work was supported by grants from the Research Fund of KU Leuven, Belgium (OT/11/071), the Flanders Fund for Scientific Research (G0483.10, G0721.12) and Grant P7/11 from the Inter-university Attraction Poles program of the Belgian federal government. J. Gooijers is funded by a Ph.D. fellowship of the Research Foundation—Flanders (FWO). K. Cuypers is supported by the Special Research Fund UHasselt.

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical standard

Participants were informed about the experimental procedures and provided written informed consent. The study was approved by the local Ethics Committee of KU Leuven and was performed in accordance with the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki.

Supplementary material

429_2013_654_MOESM1_ESM.pdf (125 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (PDF 125 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • L. Serbruyns
    • 1
  • J. Gooijers
    • 1
  • K. Caeyenberghs
    • 1
    • 2
  • R. L. Meesen
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • K. Cuypers
    • 1
    • 3
    • 4
  • H. M. Sisti
    • 1
  • A. Leemans
    • 5
  • Stephan P. Swinnen
    • 1
    • 6
  1. 1.Motor Control Laboratory, Movement Control and Neuroplasticity Research Group, Biomedical Sciences GroupKU LeuvenHeverleeBelgium
  2. 2.Department of Physical Therapy and Motor Rehabilitation, Faculty of Medicine and Health SciencesUniversity of GhentGhentBelgium
  3. 3.REVAL Research Group, Department of Health Care SciencesPHL University CollegeHasseltBelgium
  4. 4.BIOMED, Biomedical Research InstituteHasselt UniversityDiepenbeekBelgium
  5. 5.Image Sciences InstituteUniversity Medical Center UtrechtUtrechtThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Leuven Research Institute for Neuroscience and Disease (LIND)KU LeuvenLeuvenBelgium

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