White matter connectivity in uncinate fasciculus accounts for visual attention span in developmental dyslexia

Jingjing Zhao, Zujun Song, Yueye Zhao, Michel Thiebaut de Schotten, Irene Altarelli, Franck Ramus
preprint bioRxiv. 2022-07-11; :
DOI: 10.1101/2022.07.09.499403

The present study aimed to investigate the role of connectivity disruptions in two fiber pathways, the uncinate fasciculus (UF) and the frontal aslant tract (FAT), in developmental dyslexia and determine the relationship between the connectivity of these pathways and behavioral performance in children with dyslexia. A total of 26 French children with dyslexia and 31 age-matched control children were included. Spherical deconvolution tractography was used to reconstruct the two fiber pathways. Hindrance-modulated oriented anisotropy (HMOA) was used to measure the connectivity of each fiber pathway in both hemispheres. The boys with dyslexia showed reduced HMOA in the UF compared to control boys, but this difference was not observed in girls. Furthermore, HMOA of the UF correlated with individual differences in the visual attention span in participants with dyslexia. All significant results found in HMOA of the UF were verified in fractional anisotropy (FA) of the UF using standard diffusion imaging model. This study suggests a differential sex effect on the connectivity disruption in the UF in developmental dyslexia. It also indicates that the UF may play an essential role in the visual attention span deficit in developmental dyslexia.Significance StatementThis study presents the first account of connectivity disruption in the uncinate fasciculus in developmental dyslexia. In particular, this connectivity disruption only appears in boys with dyslexia but not in girls with dyslexia. We also show that the connectivity of the uncinate fasciculus accounts for individual differences in the visual attention span in children with dyslexia, expanding the current understanding of the function of the uncinate fasciculus.

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