The role of the corpus callosum in language network connectivity in children

Dev Sci. 2021 Mar;24(2):e13031. doi: 10.1111/desc.13031. Epub 2020 Sep 1.


The specific role of the corpus callosum (CC) in language network organization remains unclear, two contrasting models have been proposed: inhibition of homotopic areas allowing for independent functioning of the hemispheres versus integration of information from both hemispheres. This study aimed to add to this discussion with the first investigation of language network connectivity in combination with CC volume measures. In 38 healthy children aged 6-12, we performed task-based functional magnetic resonance imaging to measure language network connectivity, used structural magnetic resonance imaging to quantify CC subsection volumes, and administered various language tests to examine language abilities. We found an increase in left intrahemispheric and bilateral language network connectivity and a decrease in right intrahemispheric connectivity associated with larger volumes of the posterior, mid-posterior, and central subsections of the CC. Consistent with that, larger volumes of the posterior parts of the CC were significantly associated with better verbal fluency and vocabulary, the anterior CC volume was positively correlated with verbal span. Thus, children with larger volumes of CC subsections showed increased interhemispheric language network connectivity and were better in different language domains. This study presents the first evidence that the CC is directly linked to language network connectivity and underlines the excitatory role of the CC in the integration of information from both hemispheres.

Keywords: corpus callosum; functional imaging; language development; language network.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Child
  • Corpus Callosum*
  • Humans
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways