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Is the planum temporale surface area a marker of hemispheric or regional language lateralization?

Abstract

We investigated the association between the left planum temporale (PT) surface area or asymmetry and the hemispheric or regional functional asymmetries during language production and perception tasks in 287 healthy adults (BIL&GIN) who were matched for sex and handedness. The measurements of the PT surface area were performed after manually delineating the region using brain magnetic resonance images (MRI) and considering the Heschl’s gyrus (HG) duplication pattern; the measurements either included (PTtot) or did not include (PTpost) the second gyrus. A region encompassing both the PT and HG (HGPT) was also studied. Regardless of the ROI measured, 80% of the sample had a positive left minus right PT asymmetry. We first tested whether the PTtot, PTpost and HGPT surface areas in the left or right hemispheres or PT asymmetries differed in groups of individuals varying in language lateralization by assessing their hemispheric index during a sentence production minus word list production task. We then investigated the association between these different measures of the PT anatomy and the regional asymmetries measured during the task. Regardless of the anatomical definition used, we observed no correlations between the left surface areas or asymmetries and the hemispheric or regional functional asymmetries during the language production task. We then performed a similar analysis using the same sample measuring language functional lateralization during speech listening tasks (i.e., listening to sentences and lists of words). Although the hemispheric lateralization during speech listening was not correlated with the left PTtot, PTpost or HGPT surface areas or the PT asymmetries, significant positive correlations were observed between the asymmetries in these regions and the regional functional asymmetries measured in areas adjacent to the end of the Sylvian fissure while participants listened to the word lists or sentences. The PT asymmetry thus appears to be associated with the local functional asymmetries in auditory areas but is not a marker of inter-individual variability in language dominance.

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Acknowledgements

This work was supported by a grant from the FLAG-ERA Human Brain Project 2015 (ANR-15-HBPR-0001-03-MULTI-LATERAL) to BM, NTM, and FC.

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Correspondence to Nathalie Tzourio-Mazoyer.

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The study has been approved by the Basse-Normandie research ethics committee and have been performed in accordance with the ethical standards as laid down in the 1964 Declaration of Helsinki and its later amendments or comparable ethical standards.

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Informed consent was obtained from all individual participants included in the study.

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The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

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Tzourio-Mazoyer, N., Crivello, F. & Mazoyer, B. Is the planum temporale surface area a marker of hemispheric or regional language lateralization?. Brain Struct Funct 223, 1217–1228 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-017-1551-7

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s00429-017-1551-7

Keywords

  • Hemispheric specialization
  • Planum temporale
  • Language lateralization
  • Speech
  • Language production
  • MRI
  • fMRI