MRI assessment of superior temporal gyrus in Williams syndrome

Sampaio A, Sousa N, Férnandez M, Vasconcelos C, Shenton ME, Gonçalves OF

Cogn Behav Neurol 2008 Sep;21(3):150-6

PMID: 18797257


OBJECTIVE: To evaluate volumes and asymmetry of superior temporal gyrus (STG) and correlate these measures with a neurocognitive evaluation of verbal performance in Williams syndrome (WS) and in a typically developing age-matched and sex-matched group.

BACKGROUND: Despite initial claims of language strength in WS, recent studies suggest delayed language milestones. The STG is implicated in linguistic processing and is a highly lateralized brain region.

METHOD: Here, we examined STG volumes and asymmetry of STG in WS patients and in age-matched controls. We also correlated volume of STG with a subset of verbal measures. Magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained on a GE 1.5-T magnet with 1.5-mm contiguous slices, and were used to measure whole gray matter, white matter, and cerebrospinal fluid volumes, and also STG volume.

RESULTS: Results revealed significantly reduced intracranial volume in WS patients, compared with controls. Right and left STG were also significantly smaller in WS patients. In addition, compared with normal controls, a lack of normal left >right STG asymmetry was evident in WS. Also of note was the finding that, in contrast to controls, WS patients did not reveal a positive correlation between verbal intelligence quotient and left STG volume, which further suggests a disruption in this region of the brain.

CONCLUSIONS: In conclusion, atypical patterns of asymmetry and reduced STG volume in WS were observed, which may, in part, contribute to some of the linguistic impairments found in this cohort of WS patients.