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Leftward lateralization of auditory cortex underlies holistic sound perception in Williams syndrome.

Wengenroth M, Blatow M, Bendszus M, Schneider P - PLoS ONE (2010)

Bottom Line: On the structural level, volume of the left auditory cortex was 2.2-fold increased in WS subjects as compared to control subjects.Equivalent volumes of the auditory cortex have been previously reported for professional musicians.Therefore our results not only unravel the neural substrate for this particular auditory phenotype, but in addition propose WS as a unique genetic model for training-independent auditory system properties.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neuroradiology, University of Heidelberg Medical School, Heidelberg, Germany. martina.wengenroth@med.uni-heidelberg.de

ABSTRACT

Background: Individuals with the rare genetic disorder Williams-Beuren syndrome (WS) are known for their characteristic auditory phenotype including strong affinity to music and sounds. In this work we attempted to pinpoint a neural substrate for the characteristic musicality in WS individuals by studying the structure-function relationship of their auditory cortex. Since WS subjects had only minor musical training due to psychomotor constraints we hypothesized that any changes compared to the control group would reflect the contribution of genetic factors to auditory processing and musicality.

Methodology/principal findings: Using psychoacoustics, magnetoencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging, we show that WS individuals exhibit extreme and almost exclusive holistic sound perception, which stands in marked contrast to the even distribution of this trait in the general population. Functionally, this was reflected by increased amplitudes of left auditory evoked fields. On the structural level, volume of the left auditory cortex was 2.2-fold increased in WS subjects as compared to control subjects. Equivalent volumes of the auditory cortex have been previously reported for professional musicians.

Conclusions/significance: There has been an ongoing debate in the neuroscience community as to whether increased gray matter of the auditory cortex in musicians is attributable to the amount of training or innate disposition. In this study musical education of WS subjects was negligible and control subjects were carefully matched for this parameter. Therefore our results not only unravel the neural substrate for this particular auditory phenotype, but in addition propose WS as a unique genetic model for training-independent auditory system properties.

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Related in: MedlinePlus

Anatomical landmarks of the auditory cortex.Auditory cortex (AC) of one control person (a–c) and one WS subject (d–e). Sagittal MR image at TAL x = 50 (a,d: left side of the image is the anterior part of the brain). Segmented STG (b,e) including Heschl's gyrus (HG; marked orange), planum temporale (PT; marked yellow) and two posterior duplications of HG in the WS subject (D; marked green). Three-dimensional surface reconstruction of right AC (c,f) reveals anatomical features and individual peculiarities such as D (f) or medial Heschl's sulcus (mHS; c). FTS =  first transverse sulcus; HS =  Heschl's sulcus; aSTG =  anterior superior temporal gyrus.
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pone-0012326-g002: Anatomical landmarks of the auditory cortex.Auditory cortex (AC) of one control person (a–c) and one WS subject (d–e). Sagittal MR image at TAL x = 50 (a,d: left side of the image is the anterior part of the brain). Segmented STG (b,e) including Heschl's gyrus (HG; marked orange), planum temporale (PT; marked yellow) and two posterior duplications of HG in the WS subject (D; marked green). Three-dimensional surface reconstruction of right AC (c,f) reveals anatomical features and individual peculiarities such as D (f) or medial Heschl's sulcus (mHS; c). FTS =  first transverse sulcus; HS =  Heschl's sulcus; aSTG =  anterior superior temporal gyrus.

Mentions: High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed at 3 Tesla. T1-weighted three-dimensional MR images of the brain were individually analyzed for gray matter volumes of the whole brain and the AC before and after normalization into Talairach (TAL) space (see Materials and Methods for details; Fig. 2 and 3).


Leftward lateralization of auditory cortex underlies holistic sound perception in Williams syndrome.

Wengenroth M, Blatow M, Bendszus M, Schneider P - PLoS ONE (2010)

Anatomical landmarks of the auditory cortex.Auditory cortex (AC) of one control person (a–c) and one WS subject (d–e). Sagittal MR image at TAL x = 50 (a,d: left side of the image is the anterior part of the brain). Segmented STG (b,e) including Heschl's gyrus (HG; marked orange), planum temporale (PT; marked yellow) and two posterior duplications of HG in the WS subject (D; marked green). Three-dimensional surface reconstruction of right AC (c,f) reveals anatomical features and individual peculiarities such as D (f) or medial Heschl's sulcus (mHS; c). FTS =  first transverse sulcus; HS =  Heschl's sulcus; aSTG =  anterior superior temporal gyrus.
© Copyright Policy
Related In: Results  -  Collection

Show All Figures
getmorefigures.php?uid=PMC2925895&req=5

pone-0012326-g002: Anatomical landmarks of the auditory cortex.Auditory cortex (AC) of one control person (a–c) and one WS subject (d–e). Sagittal MR image at TAL x = 50 (a,d: left side of the image is the anterior part of the brain). Segmented STG (b,e) including Heschl's gyrus (HG; marked orange), planum temporale (PT; marked yellow) and two posterior duplications of HG in the WS subject (D; marked green). Three-dimensional surface reconstruction of right AC (c,f) reveals anatomical features and individual peculiarities such as D (f) or medial Heschl's sulcus (mHS; c). FTS =  first transverse sulcus; HS =  Heschl's sulcus; aSTG =  anterior superior temporal gyrus.
Mentions: High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) was performed at 3 Tesla. T1-weighted three-dimensional MR images of the brain were individually analyzed for gray matter volumes of the whole brain and the AC before and after normalization into Talairach (TAL) space (see Materials and Methods for details; Fig. 2 and 3).

Bottom Line: On the structural level, volume of the left auditory cortex was 2.2-fold increased in WS subjects as compared to control subjects.Equivalent volumes of the auditory cortex have been previously reported for professional musicians.Therefore our results not only unravel the neural substrate for this particular auditory phenotype, but in addition propose WS as a unique genetic model for training-independent auditory system properties.

View Article: PubMed Central - PubMed

Affiliation: Department of Neuroradiology, University of Heidelberg Medical School, Heidelberg, Germany. martina.wengenroth@med.uni-heidelberg.de

ABSTRACT

Background: Individuals with the rare genetic disorder Williams-Beuren syndrome (WS) are known for their characteristic auditory phenotype including strong affinity to music and sounds. In this work we attempted to pinpoint a neural substrate for the characteristic musicality in WS individuals by studying the structure-function relationship of their auditory cortex. Since WS subjects had only minor musical training due to psychomotor constraints we hypothesized that any changes compared to the control group would reflect the contribution of genetic factors to auditory processing and musicality.

Methodology/principal findings: Using psychoacoustics, magnetoencephalography and magnetic resonance imaging, we show that WS individuals exhibit extreme and almost exclusive holistic sound perception, which stands in marked contrast to the even distribution of this trait in the general population. Functionally, this was reflected by increased amplitudes of left auditory evoked fields. On the structural level, volume of the left auditory cortex was 2.2-fold increased in WS subjects as compared to control subjects. Equivalent volumes of the auditory cortex have been previously reported for professional musicians.

Conclusions/significance: There has been an ongoing debate in the neuroscience community as to whether increased gray matter of the auditory cortex in musicians is attributable to the amount of training or innate disposition. In this study musical education of WS subjects was negligible and control subjects were carefully matched for this parameter. Therefore our results not only unravel the neural substrate for this particular auditory phenotype, but in addition propose WS as a unique genetic model for training-independent auditory system properties.

Show MeSH
Related in: MedlinePlus