Hemispheric asymmetries in cortical thickness

E. Luders, K. L. Narr, P. M. Thompson, D. E. Rex, L. Jancke, A. W. Toga

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145 Scopus citations


Using magnetic resonance imaging and computational cortical pattern matching methods, we analyzed hemispheric differences in regional gray matter thickness across the lateral and medial cortices in young, healthy adults (n = 60). In addition, we investigated the influence of gender on the degree of thickness asymmetry. Results revealed global and regionally specific differences between the two hemispheres, with generally thicker cortex in the left hemisphere. Regions with significant leftward asymmetry were identified in the precentral gyrus, middle frontal, anterior temporal and superior parietal lobes, while rightward asymmetry was prominent in the inferior posterior temporal lobe and inferior frontal lobe. On the medial surface, significant rightward asymmetries were observed in posterior regions, while significant leftward asymmetries were evident from the vicinity of the paracentral gyrus extending anteriorly. Asymmetry profiles were similar in both sexes, but hemispheric differences appeared slightly pronounced in males compared with females, albeit a few regions also indicated greater asymmetry in females compared with males. Hemispheric differences in the thickness of the cortex might be related to hemisphere-specific functional specializations that are possibly related to behavioral asymmetries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1232-1238
Number of pages7
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2006
Externally publishedYes


  • Cortex
  • Gender
  • Gray
  • Lateralization
  • Sex difference


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