Sisti, H. M, Geurts, M., Gooijers, J., Heitger, M. H, Caeyenberghs, K., Beets, I. A, Serbruyns, L., Leemans, A. & Swinnen, SP. (2012). Microstructural organization of corpus callosum projections to prefrontal cortex predicts bimanual motor learning. Learning and Memory,19(8), 351-357. United States of America: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Retrieved from https://doi.org/10.1101/lm.026534.112
The corpus callosum (CC) is the largest white matter tract in the brain. It enables interhemispheric communication, particularly with respect to bimanual coordination. Here, we use diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) in healthy humans to determine the extent to which structural organization of subregions within the CC would predict how well subjects learn a novel bimanual task. A single DTI scan was taken prior to training. Participants then practiced a bimanual visuomotor task over the course of 2 wk, consisting of multiple coordination patterns. Findings revealed that the predictive power of fractional anisotropy (FA) was a function of CC subregion and practice. That is, FA of the anterior CC, which projects to the prefrontal cortex, predicted bimanual learning rather than the middle CC regions, which connect primary motor cortex. This correlation was specific in that FA correlated significantly with performance of the most difficult frequency ratios tested and not the innately preferred, isochronous frequency ratio. Moreover, the effect was only evident after training and not at initiation of practice. This is the first DTI study in healthy adults which demonstrates that white matter organization of the interhemispheric connections between the prefrontal structures is strongly correlated with motor learning capability.