Perani, D., Scifo, P., Cicchini, G. M., Rosa, P. D., Banfi, C., Mascheretti, S., Falini, A., Marino, C., & Morrone, M. C.

White matter deficits correlate with visual motion perception impairments in dyslexic carriers of the DCDC2 genetic risk variant

Experimental Brain Research, 239(9), 2725–2740

https://doi.org/10.1007/s00221-021-06137-1 Download

Motion perception deficits in dyslexia show a large intersubjective variability, partly reflecting genetic factors influencing brain architecture development. In previous work, we have demonstrated that dyslexic carriers of a mutation of the DCDC2 gene have a very strong impairment in motion perception. In the present study, we investigated structural white matter alterations associated with the poor motion perception in a cohort of twenty dyslexics with a subgroup carrying the DCDC2 gene deletion (DCDC2d+) and a subgroup without the risk variant (DCDC2d–). We observed significant deficits in motion contrast sensitivity and in motion direction discrimination accuracy at high contrast, stronger in the DCDC2d+ group. Both motion perception impairments correlated significantly with the fractional anisotropy in posterior ventral and dorsal tracts, including early visual pathways both along the optic radiation and in proximity of occipital cortex, MT and VWFA. However, the DCDC2d+ group showed stronger correlations between FA and motion perception impairments than the DCDC2d– group in early visual white matter bundles, including the optic radiations, and in ventral pathways located in the left inferior temporal cortex. Our results suggest that the DCDC2d+ group experiences higher vulnerability in visual motion processing even at early stages of visual analysis, which might represent a specific feature associated with the genotype and provide further neurobiological support to the visual-motion deficit account of dyslexia in a specific subpopulation.