Brain structural and functional asymmetry in human situs inversus totalis

Guy Vingerhoets, Xiang Li, Lewis Hou, Stephanie Bogaert, Helena Verhelst, Robin Gerrits, Roma Siugzdaite, Neil Roberts

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract / Description of output

Magnetic resonance imaging was used to investigate brain structural and functional asymmetries in 15 participants with complete visceral reversal (situs inversus totalis, SIT). Language-related brain structural and functional lateralization of SIT participants, including peri-Sylvian gray and white matter asymmetries and hemispheric language dominance, was similar to those of 15 control participants individually matched for sex, age, education, and handedness. In contrast, the SIT cohort showed reversal of the brain (Yakovlevian) torque (occipital petalia and occipital bending) compared to the control group. Secondary findings suggested different asymmetry patterns between SIT participants with (n = 6) or without (n = 9) primary ciliary dyskinesia (PCD, also known as Kartagener syndrome) although the small sample sizes warrant cautious interpretation. In particular, reversed brain torque was mainly due to the subgroup with PCD-unrelated SIT and this group also included 55% left handers, a ratio close to a random allocation of handedness. We conclude that complete visceral reversal has no effect on the lateralization of brain structural and functional asymmetries associated with language, but seems to reverse the typical direction of the brain torque in particular in participants that have SIT unrelated to PCD. The observed differences in asymmetry patterns of SIT groups with and without PCD seem to suggest that symmetry breaking of visceral laterality, brain torque, and language dominance rely on different mechanisms.

Original languageEnglish
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Early online date4 Jan 2018
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jan 2018

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