Homozygous LAMC3 mutation links to structural and functional changes in visual attention networks
Part of special issue: Mapping diseased brains
242 - 253
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The occipital lobe contains a substantial part of the neural machinery involved in visual perception. Mutations in the LAMC3 gene have recently been shown to cause complex bilateral occipital cortical gyration abnormalities. However, to what extent these structural changes impact visual behavior is not known. We recorded responses for two screening test batteries targeting visual function (Leuven - Perceptual Organization Screening Test, Cortical Vision Screening Test) and measured eye fixation performance in a visual attention experiment from a patient with homozygous LAMC3 gene mutation. Using voxel-based morphometry (VBM) we quantitatively assessed the extent of structural changes brought on by the genetic mutation by comparing mean cortical curvature, cortical thickness, and gray matter volume in 34 cortical areas between patient and an age-, sex-, and education-matched control group. Anatomical connectivity between these cortical areas was investigated by a structural covariance analysis. Visual screening-, and behavioral results revealed that the patient's impairments were predominantly in visuo-spatial attention. Consistent with this, VBM and structural connectivity results revealed significant structural changes in cortical regions subserving attentional functions. We conclude that the LAMC3 gene mutation affects cortical areas beyond the occipital lobe and primarily those visual functions that involve heavily distributed networks - such as visuo-spatial attention.
Structural covariance analysis