Effect of familial sinistrality on planum temporale surface and brain tissue asymmetries

Cereb Cortex. 2010 Jun;20(6):1476-85. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhp209. Epub 2009 Oct 21.


The impact of having left-handers (LHs) among one's close relatives, called familial sinistrality (FS), on neuroanatomical markers of left-hemisphere language specialization was studied in 274 normal adults, including 199 men and 75 women, among whom 77 men and 27 women were positive for FS. Measurements of the surface of a phonological cortical area, the "planum temporale" (PT), and gray and white matter hemispheric volumes and asymmetries were made using brain magnetic resonance images. The size of the left PT of subjects with left-handed close relatives (FS+) was reduced by 10%, decreasing with the number of left-handed relatives, and lowest when the subject's mother was left-handed. Such findings had no counterparts in the right hemisphere, and the subject's handedness and sex were found to have no significant effect or interaction with FS on the left PT size. The FS+ subjects also exhibited increased gray matter volume, reduced hemispheric gray matter leftward asymmetry, and, in LHs, reduced strength of hand preference. These results add to the increasing body of evidence suggesting multiple and somewhat independent mechanisms for the inheritance of hand and language lateralization.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Auditory Cortex / growth & development*
  • Auditory Perception / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Corpus Callosum / anatomy & histology
  • Corpus Callosum / growth & development
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / genetics*
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development
  • Speech Perception / physiology
  • Verbal Behavior / physiology*
  • Young Adult