Article Abstract

Neuroanatomical substrates underlying contrast sensitivity

Authors: Ying Yang, Yajun Wang, Cun Zhang, Jiajia Zhu, Yongqiang Yu


Background: Contrast sensitivity (CS), a measurement of the ability to discriminate an object from its background, is an essential domain of visual functions. Eye aging or diseases are usually responsible for CS decline or impairment. However, whether neuroanatomical substrates are underlying CS is mostly unknown.
Methods: High-resolution magnetic resonance imaging data of 100 healthy young subjects from the Human Connectome Project (HCP) dataset were used to calculate gray matter volume (GMV). CS was assessed using the Mars Contrast Sensitivity Test. A multiple regression analysis was used to investigate the relationship between CS and GMV in a voxel-wise manner within the whole gray matter.
Results: The range of Mars_Final scores for the 100 participants was from 1.08 to 1.88, and we found significant positive correlations between the CS scores and GMV in the bilateral visual cortex. Precisely, the significant bilateral clusters were mainly located in bilateral V3A, with the superior parts extending to the bilateral posterior parietal cortex.
Conclusions: These findings suggest the critical role of the dorsal visual stream in CS processing, which may provide insights into the neuroanatomical mechanism of contrast sensitivity and its relation to some brain disorders.