Interhemispheric co-alteration of brain homotopic regions

Brain Struct Funct. 2021 Sep;226(7):2181-2204. doi: 10.1007/s00429-021-02318-4. Epub 2021 Jun 25.


Asymmetries in gray matter alterations raise important issues regarding the pathological co-alteration between hemispheres. Since homotopic areas are the most functionally connected sites between hemispheres and gray matter co-alterations depend on connectivity patterns, it is likely that this relationship might be mirrored in homologous interhemispheric co-altered areas. To explore this issue, we analyzed data of patients with Alzheimer's disease, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depressive disorder from the BrainMap voxel-based morphometry database. We calculated a map showing the pathological homotopic anatomical co-alteration between homologous brain areas. This map was compared with the meta-analytic homotopic connectivity map obtained from the BrainMap functional database, so as to have a meta-analytic connectivity modeling map between homologous areas. We applied an empirical Bayesian technique so as to determine a directional pathological co-alteration on the basis of the possible tendencies in the conditional probability of being co-altered of homologous brain areas. Our analysis provides evidence that: the hemispheric homologous areas appear to be anatomically co-altered; this pathological co-alteration is similar to the pattern of connectivity exhibited by the couples of homologues; the probability to find alterations in the areas of the left hemisphere seems to be greater when their right homologues are also altered than vice versa, an intriguing asymmetry that deserves to be further investigated and explained.

Keywords: Alzheimer’s disease; Brain alterations; Depressive disorder; Pathological co-alteration; Schizophrenia; Voxel-based morphometry.

MeSH terms

  • Bayes Theorem
  • Brain* / diagnostic imaging
  • Gray Matter
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways / diagnostic imaging