How does the corpus callosum mediate interhemispheric transfer? A review

Lisette J van der Knaap, Ineke J M van der Ham
Behavioural Brain Research 2011 September 30, 223 (1): 211-21
The corpus callosum is the largest white matter structure in the human brain, connecting cortical regions of both hemispheres. Complete and partial callosotomies or callosal lesion studies have granted more insight into the function of the corpus callosum, namely the facilitation of communication between the cerebral hemispheres. How the corpus callosum mediates this information transfer is still a topic of debate. Some pose that the corpus callosum maintains independent processing between the two hemispheres, whereas others say that the corpus callosum shares information between hemispheres. These theories of inhibition and excitation are further explored by reviewing recent behavioural studies and morphological findings to gain more information about callosal function. Additional information regarding callosal function in relation to altered morphology and dysfunction in disorders is reviewed to add to the discussion of callosal involvement in interhemispheric transfer. Both the excitatory and inhibitory theories seem likely candidates to describe callosal function, however evidence also exists for both functions within the same corpus callosum. For future research it would be beneficial to investigate the functional role of the callosal sub regions to get a better understanding of function and use more appropriate experimental methods to determine functional connectivity when looking at interhemispheric transfer.

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