Mapping longitudinal hemispheric structural asymmetries of the human cerebral cortex from birth to 2 years of age

Li G, Nie J, Wang L, Shi F, Lyall AE, Lin W, Gilmore JH, Shen D

Cereb. Cortex 2014 May;24(5):1289-300

PMID: 23307634


Mapping cortical hemispheric asymmetries in infants would increase our understanding of the origins and developmental trajectories of hemispheric asymmetries. We analyze longitudinal cortical hemispheric asymmetries in 73 healthy subjects at birth, 1, and 2 years of age using surface-based morphometry of magnetic resonance images with a specific focus on the vertex position, sulcal depth, mean curvature, and local surface area. Prominent cortical asymmetries are found around the peri-Sylvian region and superior temporal sulcus (STS) at birth that evolve modestly from birth to 2 years of age. Sexual dimorphisms of cortical asymmetries are present at birth, with males having the larger magnitudes and sizes of the clusters of asymmetries than females that persist from birth to 2 years of age. The left supramarginal gyrus (SMG) is significantly posterior to the right SMG, and the maximum position difference increases from 10.2 mm for males (6.9 mm for females) at birth to 12.0 mm for males (8.4 mm for females) by 2 years of age. The right STS and parieto-occipital sulcus are significantly larger and deeper than those in the left hemisphere, and the left planum temporale is significantly larger and deeper than that in the right hemisphere at all 3 ages. Our results indicate that early hemispheric structural asymmetries are inherent and gender related.