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  Reduced structural connectivity between left auditory thalamus and the motion-sensitive planum temporale in developmental dyslexia

Tschentscher, N., Ruisinger, A., Blank, H., Díaz, B., & von Kriegstein, K. (2019). Reduced structural connectivity between left auditory thalamus and the motion-sensitive planum temporale in developmental dyslexia. The Journal of Neuroscience, 39(9), 1720-1732. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1435-18.2018.

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Tschentscher, Nadja1, 2, Author           
Ruisinger, Anja1, Author           
Blank, Helen3, Author
Díaz, Begoña1, 4, 5, Author           
von Kriegstein, Katharina1, 6, Author           
1Max Planck Research Group Neural Mechanisms of Human Communication, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634556              
2Department of Psychology, Ludwig Maximilians University Munich, Germany, ou_persistent22              
3Department of Systems Neuroscience, University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf, Germany, ou_persistent22              
4Department of Information and Communication Technologies, Center for Brain and Cognition, University Pompeu Fabra, Barcelona, Spain, ou_persistent22              
5Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, International University of Catalonia, Sant Cugat del Vallès, Spain, ou_persistent22              
6Department of Psychology, TU Dresden, Germany, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: DWI; RAN; Developmental dyslexia; Medial geniculate body (MGB); Planum temporale (PT); Primary auditory cortex (A1)
 Abstract: Developmental dyslexia is characterized by the inability to acquire typical reading and writing skills. Dyslexia has been frequently linked to cerebral cortex alterations; however, recent evidence also points toward sensory thalamus dysfunctions: dyslexics showed reduced responses in the left auditory thalamus (medial geniculate body, MGB) during speech processing in contrast to neurotypical readers. In addition, in the visual modality, dyslexics have reduced structural connectivity between the left visual thalamus (lateral geniculate nucleus, LGN) and V5/MT, a cerebral cortex region involved in visual movement processing. Higher LGN-V5/MT connectivity in dyslexics was associated with the faster rapid naming of letters and numbers (RANln), a measure that is highly correlated with reading proficiency. Here, we tested two hypotheses that were directly derived from these previous findings. First, we tested the hypothesis that dyslexics have reduced structural connectivity between the left MGB and the auditory-motion-sensitive part of the left planum temporale (mPT). Second, we hypothesized that the amount of left mPT-MGB connectivity correlates with dyslexics RANln scores. Using diffusion tensor imaging-based probabilistic tracking, we show that male adults with developmental dyslexia have reduced structural connectivity between the left MGB and the left mPT, confirming the first hypothesis. Stronger left mPT-MGB connectivity was not associated with faster RANln scores in dyslexics, but was in neurotypical readers. Our findings provide the first evidence that reduced cortico-thalamic connectivity in the auditory modality is a feature of developmental dyslexia and it may also affect reading-related cognitive abilities in neurotypical readers.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Developmental dyslexia is one of the most widespread learning disabilities. Although previous neuroimaging research mainly focused on pathomechanisms of dyslexia at the cerebral cortex level, several lines of evidence suggest an atypical functioning of subcortical sensory structures. By means of diffusion tensor imaging, we here show that dyslexic male adults have reduced white matter connectivity in a cortico-thalamic auditory pathway between the left auditory motion-sensitive planum temporale and the left medial geniculate body. Connectivity strength of this pathway was associated with measures of reading fluency in neurotypical readers. This is novel evidence on the neurocognitive correlates of reading proficiency, highlighting the importance of cortico-subcortical interactions between regions involved in the processing of spectrotemporally complex sound.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2018-11-022018-06-072018-11-252019-02-272019-02-27
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1435-18.2018
PMID: 30643025
PMC: PMC6391561
Other: Epub 2019
 Degree: -



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Project name : -
Grant ID : -
Funding program : Max Planck Research Group Grant
Funding organization : Max Planck Society
Project name : The tiny and the fast: The role of subcortical sensory structures in human communication / SENSOCOM
Grant ID : 647051
Funding program : Horizon 2020 | ERC
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)

Source 1

Title: The Journal of Neuroscience
  Other : The Journal of Neuroscience: the Official Journal of the Society for Neuroscience
  Abbreviation : J. Neurosci.
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Washington, DC : Society of Neuroscience
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 39 (9) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 1720 - 1732 Identifier: ISSN: 0270-6474
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925502187_1