The right inhibition? Callosal correlates of hand performance in healthy children and adolescents callosal correlates of hand performance


  • This manuscript reflects the views of the authors and may not reflect the opinions or views of the NIH.

Correspondence to: Florian Kurth, Center for Neurobiology of Stress, Department of Medicine, UCLA School of Medicine, 10833 Le Conte Ave, CHS 42-222, Los Angeles, CA 90095-7378. E-mail:


Numerous studies suggest that interhemispheric inhibition—relayed via the corpus callosum—plays an important role in unilateral hand motions. Interestingly, transcallosal inhibition appears to be indicative of a strong laterality effect, where generally the dominant hemisphere exerts inhibition on the nondominant one. These effects have been largely identified through functional studies in adult populations, but links between motor performance and callosal structure (especially during sensitive periods of neurodevelopment) remain largely unknown. We therefore investigated correlations between Purdue Pegboard performance (a test of motor function) and local callosal thickness in 170 right-handed children and adolescents (mean age: 11.5 ± 3.4 years; range, 6–17 years). Better task performance with the right (dominant) hand was associated with greater callosal thickness in isthmus and posterior midbody. Task performance using both hands yielded smaller and less significant correlations in the same regions, while task performance using the left (nondominant) hand showed no significant correlations with callosal thickness. There were no significant interactions with age and sex. These links between motor performance and callosal structure may constitute the neural correlate of interhemispheric inhibition, which is thought to be necessary for fast and complex unilateral motions and to be biased towards the dominant hand. Hum Brain Mapp 34:2259–2265, 2013. © 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.