Structural Organization of the Corpus Callosum Predicts Attentional Shifts after Continuous Theta Burst Stimulation

Chechlacz, Magdalena; Humphreys, Glyn W.; Sotiropoulos, Stamatios N.; Kennard, Christopher; Cazzoli, Dario (2015). Structural Organization of the Corpus Callosum Predicts Attentional Shifts after Continuous Theta Burst Stimulation. Journal of neuroscience, 35(46), pp. 15353-15368. Society for Neuroscience 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2610-15.2015

[img] Text
15353.full.pdf - Published Version
Restricted to registered users only
Available under License Publisher holds Copyright.

Download (2MB) | Request a copy

Repetitive transcranial magnetic stimulation (rTMS) applied over the right posterior parietal cortex (PPC) in healthy participants has been shown to trigger a significant rightward shift in the spatial allocation of visual attention, temporarily mimicking spatial deficits observed in neglect. In contrast, rTMS applied over the left PPC triggers a weaker or null attentional shift. However, large interindividual differences in responses to rTMS have been reported. Studies measuring changes in brain activation suggest that the effects of rTMS may depend on both interhemispheric and intrahemispheric interactions between cortical loci controlling visual attention. Here, we investigated whether variability in the structural organization of human white matter pathways subserving visual attention, as assessed by diffusion magnetic resonance imaging and tractography, could explain interindividual differences in the effects of rTMS. Most participants showed a rightward shift in the allocation of spatial attention after rTMS over the right intraparietal sulcus (IPS), but the size of this effect varied largely across participants. Conversely, rTMS over the left IPS resulted in strikingly opposed individual responses, with some participants responding with rightward and some with leftward attentional shifts. We demonstrate that microstructural and macrostructural variability within the corpus callosum, consistent with differential effects on cross-hemispheric interactions, predicts both the extent and the direction of the response to rTMS. Together, our findings suggest that the corpus callosum may have a dual inhibitory and excitatory function in maintaining the interhemispheric dynamics that underlie the allocation of spatial attention.
The posterior parietal cortex (PPC) controls allocation of attention across left versus right visual fields. Damage to this area results in neglect, characterized by a lack of spatial awareness of the side of space contralateral to the brain injury. Transcranial magnetic stimulation over the PPC is used to study cognitive mechanisms of spatial attention and to examine the potential of this technique to treat neglect. However, large individual differences in behavioral responses to stimulation have been reported. We demonstrate that the variability in the structural organization of the corpus callosum accounts for these differences. Our findings suggest novel dual mechanism of the corpus callosum function in spatial attention and have broader implications for the use of stimulation in neglect rehabilitation.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


10 Strategic Research Centers > ARTORG Center for Biomedical Engineering Research > ARTORG Center - Gerontechnology and Rehabilitation
04 Faculty of Medicine > Department of Head Organs and Neurology (DKNS) > Clinic of Neurology
04 Faculty of Medicine > University Psychiatric Services > University Hospital of Geriatric Psychiatry and Psychotherapy

UniBE Contributor:

Cazzoli, Dario


600 Technology > 610 Medicine & health




Society for Neuroscience




Vanessa Vallejo

Date Deposited:

22 Mar 2016 09:25

Last Modified:

22 Mar 2016 09:25

Publisher DOI:


Uncontrolled Keywords:

TMS; corpus callosum; diffusion tractography; individual differences; neglect; spatial attention




Actions (login required)

Edit item Edit item
Provide Feedback