Corpus callosum and simple visuomotor integration

G Berlucchi, S Aglioti, C A Marzi, G Tassinari
Neuropsychologia 1995, 33 (8): 923-36
Malcolm Jeeves was the first to demonstrate lengthened interhemispheric transmission times in subjects with agenesis of the corpus callosum by using a simple reaction time paradigm with lateralized unstructured light stimuli and crossed and uncrossed hand responses. Uncrossed responses can be integrated within one hemisphere, whereas crossed responses require a communication between the two hemispheres. In the normal brain this communication is effected rapidly by the corpus callosum, whereas in the acallosal brain it must occur much more slowly by way of less efficient alternative interhemispheric pathways. Using a similar experimental paradigm we have studied normal subjects, subjects with a complete callosal agenesis and epileptic patients with surgical callosal sections, either complete or partial. All subjects with complete callosal defects showed much lengthened interhemispheric times compared to normal controls. Virtually normal interhemispheric transmission times were found in subjects with partial callosal defects, whether anterior or posterior, suggesting a possible equipotentiality of different portions of the corpus callosum in the mediation of crossed manual responses. In both normals and acallosals there were no crossed-uncrossed differences in reaction time when responses were made unilaterally with lower limb effectors or para-axial upper limb effectors, as well as bilaterally with upper-limb proximal and para-axial effectors. Since these effectors can be controlled directly from either side of the brain via bilaterally distributed motor pathways, crossed responses using them, unlike crossed manual responses, do not require an interhemispheric integration.

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