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  Temporal dynamics of brain white matter plasticity in sighted subjects during tactile Braille learning: A longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging study

Molendowska, M., Matuszewski, J., Kossowski, B., Bola, Ł., Banaszkiewicz, A., Paplińska, M., et al. (2021). Temporal dynamics of brain white matter plasticity in sighted subjects during tactile Braille learning: A longitudinal diffusion tensor imaging study. The Journal of Neuroscience, 41(33), 7076-7085. doi:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2242-20.2021.

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Molendowska, Malwina1, 2, Author
Matuszewski, Jacek1, Author
Kossowski, Bartosz1, Author
Bola, Łukasz1, 3, Author
Banaszkiewicz, Anna1, Author
Paplińska, Małgorzata4, Author
Jednoróg, Katarzyna5, Author
Draganski, Bogdan6, 7, Author           
Marchewka, Artur1, Author
1Laboratory of Brain Imaging, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Warsaw, Poland, ou_persistent22              
2Brain Research Imaging Centre, School of Psychology, Cardiff University, United Kingdom, ou_persistent22              
3Institute of Psychology, Jagiellonian University, Krakow, Poland, ou_persistent22              
4Maria Grzegorzewska University, Warsaw, Poland, ou_persistent22              
5Laboratory of Language Neurobiology, Nencki Institute of Experimental Biology, Warsaw, Poland, ou_persistent22              
6Département des Neurosciences Cliniques, Laboratoire de Recherche en Neuroimagerie (LREN), Centre hospitalier universitaire vaudois, Lausanne, Switzerland, ou_persistent22              
7Department Neurology, MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_634549              


Free keywords: DTI; Longitudinal design; Neuroplasticity; Tactile reading; White matter
 Abstract: The white matter (WM) architecture of the human brain changes in response to training, though fine-grained temporal characteristics of training-induced white matter plasticity remain unexplored. We investigated white matter microstructural changes using diffusion tensor imaging at five different time points in 26 sighted female adults during 8 months of training on tactile braille reading. Our results show that training-induced white matter plasticity occurs both within and beyond the trained sensory modality, as reflected by fractional anisotropy (FA) increases in somatosensory and visual cortex, respectively. The observed changes followed distinct time courses, with gradual linear FA increase along the training in the somatosensory cortex and sudden visual cortex cross-modal plasticity occurring after braille input became linguistically meaningful. WM changes observed in these areas returned to baseline after the cessation of learning in line with the supply-demand model of plasticity. These results also indicate that the temporal dynamics of microstructural plasticity in different cortical regions might be modulated by the nature of computational demands. We provide additional evidence that observed FA training-induced changes are behaviorally relevant to tactile reading. Together, these results demonstrate that WM plasticity is a highly dynamic process modulated by the introduction of novel experiences.SIGNIFICANCE STATEMENT Throughout the lifetime the human brain is shaped by various experiences. Training-induced reorganization in white matter (WM) microstructure has been reported, but we know little about its temporal dynamics. To fill this gap, we scanned sighted subjects five times during tactile braille reading training. We observed different dynamics of WM plasticity in the somatosensory and visual cortices implicated in braille reading. The former showed a continuous increase in WM tissue anisotropy along with tactile training, while microstructural changes in the latter were observed only after the participants learned to read braille words. Our results confirm the supply-demand model of brain plasticity and provide evidence that WM reorganization depends on distinct computational demands and functional roles of regions involved in the trained skill.


 Dates: 2021-05-052020-08-262021-06-082021-07-122021-08-18
 Publication Status: Issued
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: -
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2242-20.2021
Other: epub 2021
PMID: 34253624
PMC: PMC8372016
 Degree: -



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Project name : -
Grant ID : 2018/30/E/HS6/00206; 2014/14/M/HS6/00918
Funding program : -
Funding organization : National Science Center Poland

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: 41 (33) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 7076 - 7085 Identifier: ISSN: 0270-6474
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925502187_1