PURPOSE: Besides chiasmal hemidecussation, interhemispheric connections are likely important in human binocularity. The corpus callosum (CC) is the major fiber bundle in the mammalian brain which mostly connects homologous cortical areas in the two hemispheres. Visual interhemispheric connections were found abnormal in strabismic cats. No studies have investigated these pathways in humans with infantile strabismus.
METHODS: Diffusion tensor imaging was used in four subjects with infantile esotropia (IE) and nine control subjects with normal binocularity, in order to study interhemispheric fibers in the CC connecting the right and left primary visual cortical areas.
RESULTS: The number of callosal fibers linking both visual cortical areas between the hemispheres was found to be higher in subjects with IE. Also in IE, the amount of visual callosal fibers found after analysis from the primary visual cortical areas on one side appeared significantly different from the amount starting from the contralateral primary visual areas. The distribution area on one side is wider.
CONCLUSION: We show callosal visual fibers to be abnormal in human IE. Subjects with IE showed abnormal numbers of transcallosal fibers connecting the visual cortical areas on both sides which likely results from an abnormal elimination process during development. Pruning of these fibers in IE favors the side of the visual cortex ipsilateral to the dominant eye. This study underlines the likely role of the CC in the development of human binocularity.