Asymmetry of the dorsal anterior cingulate cortex: evidences from multiple modalities of MRI

Neuroinformatics. 2013 Apr;11(2):149-57. doi: 10.1007/s12021-012-9167-9.


The dorsal anterior cingulate cortex (dACC) has been consistently implicated in cognitive control processes. Many studies have found higher fractional anisotropy (FA) in the left anterior cingulum bundle (aCB) than in the right. However, the asymmetry of gray matter density (GMD) is not clear. Using multiple modalities of MRI, we investigated both FA and GMD in the dACC in two independent groups of healthy participants (50 per group, 18-24 years old, half males and half females). Consistent with previous findings, the mean FA of the left aCB was significantly higher than that of the right. Males showed higher FA in the bilateral aCB than females. Voxel-based analysis of GMD in the dACC presented a region-specific significant asymmetry: right > left in the lower part (around callosal sulcus) but left > right in the upper part (around cingulate sulcus). No significant sex effect was found for GMD in the dACC. All these results were almost the same across the two independent groups. The complex pattern of asymmetry in GMD may imply highly differentiated functions of the dACC. Future fine-scale structural and diffusion MRI studies and a battery of cognitive behavioral measurements are needed to fully elucidate the asymmetry of the dACC.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Anisotropy
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Databases, Factual / statistics & numerical data
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging*
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / anatomy & histology*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Male
  • Nerve Fibers, Myelinated / physiology
  • Sex Characteristics
  • Young Adult