A qualitative and quantitative review of diffusion tensor imaging studies in reading and dyslexia

Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2012 Jul;36(6):1532-52. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2012.04.002. Epub 2012 Apr 17.


In this review paper we address whether deficits in reading (i.e. developmental dyslexia) are rooted in neurobiological anomalies in white matter tracts. Diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) offers an index of the connections between brain regions (via tractography) and of the white matter properties of these connections (via fractional anisotropy, FA). The reported studies generally show that lower FA values in left temporoparietal and frontal areas are indicative of poorer reading ability or dyslexia. Second, most studies have indicated that these regions coincide with the left arcuate fasciculus and corona radiata, with fewer studies suggesting a role for the posterior part of the corpus callosum or for more ventral tracts such as the inferior longitudinal fasciculus or the inferior fronto-occipital fasciculus. Finally, a quantitative activation likelihood estimation (ALE) meta-analysis on all reported studies that used a voxel-based approach reveals a cluster located close to the left temporoparietal region (x=-29, y=-17, z=26). Fibertracking through this cluster demonstrates that this region hosts both the left arcuate fasciculus and the left corona radiata.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Anisotropy
  • Brain / physiopathology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging*
  • Dyslexia / diagnosis*
  • Humans
  • Reading*