Brain asymmetry: both sides of the story

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Biological systems demonstrate asymmetry, while lateralization has been observed from humans to lower animals structurally, functionally and behaviorally. This may be derived from evolutionary, genetic, developmental, epigenetic and pathologic factors. However, brain structure and function is complex, and macroscopic or microscopic asymmetries are hard to discern from random fluctuations. In this article, we discuss brain laterality and lateralization, beginning with a brief review of the literature on brain structural and functional asymmetries. We conclude with methods to detect and quantify asymmetry, focusing on neuroproteomics, for retrieval of protein-expression patterns, as a method of diagnosis and treatment monitoring. We suggest inter-hemispheric differential proteomics as a valid method to assess the experimental and biological variations in the healthy brain, and neurologic and neuropsychiatric disorders.

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