Brain Connect 2013 16;3(6):547-62. Epub 2013 Nov 16.
1 Department of Radiology and Biomedical Imaging, University of California , San Francisco, California.
The corpus callosum is the largest white matter fiber bundle connecting the two cerebral hemispheres. In this work, we investigate the effect of callosal dysgenesis on functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) resting-state networks and the functional connectome. Since alternate commissural routes between the cerebral hemispheres exist, we hypothesize that bilateral cortical networks can still be maintained in partial or even complete agenesis of the corpus callosum (AgCC). However, since these commissural routes are frequently indirect, requiring polysynaptic pathways, we hypothesize that quantitative measurements of interhemispheric functional connectivity in bilateral networks will be reduced in AgCC compared with matched controls, especially in the most highly interconnected cortical regions that are the hubs of the connectome. Seventeen resting-state networks were extracted from fMRI of 11 subjects with partial or complete AgCC and 11 matched controls. The results show that the qualitative organization of resting-state networks is very similar between controls and AgCC. However, interhemispheric functional connectivity of precuneus, posterior cingulate cortex, and insular-opercular regions was significantly reduced in AgCC. The preserved network organization was confirmed with a connectomic analysis of the resting-state fMRI data, showing five functional modules that are largely consistent across the control and AgCC groups. Hence, the reduction or even complete absence of callosal connectivity does not affect the qualitative organization of bilateral resting-state networks or the modular organization of the functional connectome, although quantitatively reduced functional connectivity can be demonstrated by measurements within bilateral cortical hubs, supporting the hypothesis that indirect polysynaptic pathways are utilized to preserve interhemispheric temporal synchrony.