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Differential reorganization of three syntax-related networks induced by a left frontal glioma

Ryuta Kinno, Shinri Ohta, Yoshihiro Muragaki, Takashi Maruyama, Kuniyoshi L. Sakai
DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/brain/awu013 1193-1212 First published online: 11 February 2014

Summary

The opercular/triangular parts of the left inferior frontal gyrus and the left lateral premotor cortex are critical in syntactic processing. We have recently indicated that a glioma in one of these regions is sufficient to cause agrammatic comprehension. In the present study, we aimed to show how normally existing syntax-related networks are functionally reorganized by a lesion. Twenty-one patients with a left frontal glioma preoperatively performed a picture–sentence matching task, and underwent functional magnetic resonance imaging scans in an event-related design. We established two qualitatively different types of agrammatic comprehension, depending on glioma location. Patients with a glioma in the left lateral premotor cortex had a more profound deficit in the comprehension of scrambled sentences than that of active and passive sentences. In contrast, patients with a glioma in the opercular/triangular parts of the left inferior frontal gyrus had a more profound deficit in the comprehension of passive and scrambled sentences than that of active sentences. Moreover, we found dramatic changes in the activation patterns in these two patient groups, which accompanied abnormal overactivity and/or underactivity in the syntax-related regions. Furthermore, by examining functional connectivity in the normal brain, we identified three syntax-related networks among those regions, and anatomically visualized connections within individual networks by using diffusion tensor imaging. The first network consists of the opercular/triangular parts of the left inferior frontal gyrus, left intraparietal sulcus, right frontal regions, presupplementary motor area, and right temporal regions. These regions were overactivated in the patients with a glioma in the left lateral premotor cortex only for correct responses, indicating a cognitive change. The second network consists of the left lateral premotor cortex, left angular gyrus, lingual gyrus, and cerebellar nuclei. These regions were overactivated in the patients with a glioma in the opercular/triangular parts of the left inferior frontal gyrus for both correct and incorrect responses, indicating a neuronal change. The third network consists of the left ventral frontal and posterior temporal regions. These regions were underactivated in the patients with a glioma in the opercular/triangular parts of the left inferior frontal gyrus, indicating another neuronal change. These results demonstrate that agrammatic comprehension is associated with the global reorganization of functionally distinct networks, which indeed reflects a differential change in the relative contribution of these three networks to normal syntax-related functions.

  • agrammatism
  • language
  • glioma
  • frontal cortex
  • MRI
  • Abbreviations
    F3
    inferior frontal gyrus
    LPMC
    lateral premotor cortex
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