Development of Right-hemispheric Dominance of Inferior Parietal Lobule in Proprioceptive Illusion Task

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Functional lateralization can be an indicator of brain maturation. We have consistently shown that, in the adult brain, proprioceptive processing of muscle spindle afferents generating illusory movement of the right hand activates inferior frontoparietal cortical regions in a right-side dominant manner in addition to the cerebrocerebellar motor network. Here we provide novel evidence regarding the development of the right-dominant use of the inferior frontoparietal cortical regions in humans using this task. We studied brain activity using functional magnetic resonance imaging while 60 right-handed blindfolded healthy children (8-11 years), adolescents (12-15 years), and young adults (18-23 years) (20 per group) experienced the illusion. Adult-like right-dominant use of the inferior parietal lobule (IPL) was observed in adolescents, while children used the IPL bilaterally. In contrast, adult-like lateralized cerebrocerebellar motor activation patterns were already observable in children. The right-side dominance progresses during adolescence along with the suppression of the left-sided IPL activity that emerges during childhood. Therefore, the neuronal processing implemented in the adult's right IPL during the proprioceptive illusion task is likely mediated bilaterally during childhood, and then becomes right-lateralized during adolescence at a substantially later time than the lateralized use of the cerebrocerebellar motor system for kinesthetic processing.

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