August 2009
Volume 9, Issue 8
Free
Vision Sciences Society Annual Meeting Abstract  |   August 2009
Disconnection of cortical face network in prosopagnosia revealed by diffusion tensor imaging
Author Affiliations
  • Linda J. Lanyon
    Human Vision and Eye Movement Laboratory, Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Medicine (Neurology), Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V5Z 3N9
  • Michael Scheel
    Human Vision and Eye Movement Laboratory, Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Medicine (Neurology), Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V5Z 3N9
  • Christopher J. Fox
    Human Vision and Eye Movement Laboratory, Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Medicine (Neurology), Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V5Z 3N9
  • Giuseppe Iaria
    Human Vision and Eye Movement Laboratory, Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Medicine (Neurology), Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V5Z 3N9
  • Jason J. S. Barton
    Human Vision and Eye Movement Laboratory, Departments of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences, Medicine (Neurology), Psychology, University of British Columbia, Vancouver, B.C., Canada V5Z 3N9
Journal of Vision August 2009, Vol.9, 482. doi:10.1167/9.8.482
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      Linda J. Lanyon, Michael Scheel, Christopher J. Fox, Giuseppe Iaria, Jason J. S. Barton; Disconnection of cortical face network in prosopagnosia revealed by diffusion tensor imaging. Journal of Vision 2009;9(8):482. doi: 10.1167/9.8.482.

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Abstract

Current anatomic models of face processing propose a ‘core’ system (occipital face area - OFA, the fusiform face area - FFA, and superior temporal sulcus - STS) and a multi-modal ‘extended’ system, which includes anterior temporal cortex. Classic models of prosopagnosia suggest that disruption of face processing may occur from disconnection within such a network, though most current studies have focused on damage to the modules themselves. In this report we describe the white matter changes in a prosopagnosic patient with only modest cortical damage.

Patient R-AT1 acquired prosopagnosia following a right amygdalohippocampectomy for epilepsy, which resulted in lesion of the anterior part of the inferior longitudinal fasciculus (ILF). We used functional MRI (face-objects comparison) to localise regions in the core system, all of which were still present in R-AT1, and then performed diffusion tensor imaging (DTI) tractography to visualise tracts extending from these regions in R-AT1and 8 healthy controls. Tracts from the OFA of R-AT1's intact left hemisphere extended along the ILF, towards the anterior temporal lobe. In the lesioned right hemisphere of R-AT1, tracts from posterior occipitotemporal regions did not extend far anteriorally. Compared to controls, a region of reduced fractional anisotropy (FA: DTI index associated with white matter structural integrity) was found in the patient's right hemisphere ILF, adjacent and superior to the patient's FFA.

These inter-subject and inter-hemispheric differences may reflect a retrograde degeneration of ILF tracts in the patient's lesioned right hemisphere. Hence, disruption of connections in the face-processing network between posterior occipitotemporal face-selective areas and anterior temporal cortex may contribute to R-AT1's prosopagnosia, particularly since the amount of cortical damage in R-AT1 is modest and in a location unusual for prosopagnosia.

Lanyon, L. J. Scheel, M. Fox, C. J. Iaria, G. Barton, J. J. S. (2009). Disconnection of cortical face network in prosopagnosia revealed by diffusion tensor imaging [Abstract]. Journal of Vision, 9(8):482, 482a, http://journalofvision.org/9/8/482/, doi:10.1167/9.8.482. [CrossRef]
Footnotes
 LL was supported by a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Post-doctoral Fellowship. MS was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Fellowship Award through the UBC Strategic Program in Neurobiology and Behaviour. CF was supported by a Canadian Institutes of Health Research Canada Graduate Scholarship Doctoral Research Award and a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Senior Graduate Studentship. GI was supported by a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Post-doctoral Fellowship and the Alzheimer Society of Canada. JB was supported by a Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research Senior Scholar Award and a Canada Research Chair.
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