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Unilateral damage to the frontoparietal network typically impairs saccade target selection within the contralesional visual hemifield. Severity of deficits and the degree of recovery have been associated with widespread network dysfunction, yet it is not clear how these behavioural and functional brain changes relate with the underlying structural white matter tracts. Here, we investigated whether recovery after unilateral prefrontal cortex (PFC) lesions was associated with changes in white matter microstructure across large-scale frontoparietal cortical and thalamocortical networks. Diffusion-weighted imaging was acquired in four male rhesus macaques at pre-lesion, week 1, and week 8-16 post-lesion when target selection deficits largely recovered. Probabilistic tractography was used to reconstruct cortical frontoparietal fiber tracts, including the superior longitudinal fasciculus (SLF) and transcallosal fibers connecting the PFC or posterior parietal cortex (PPC), as well as thalamocortical fiber tracts connecting the PFC and PPC to thalamic nuclei. We found that the two animals with small PFC lesions showed increased fractional anisotropy in both cortical and thalamocortical fiber tracts when behaviour had recovered. However, we found that fractional anisotropy decreased in cortical frontoparietal tracts after larger PFC lesions yet increased in some thalamocortical tracts at the time of behavioural recovery. These findings indicate that behavioural recovery after small PFC lesions may be supported by both cortical and subcortical areas, whereas larger PFC lesions may have induced widespread structural damage and hindered compensatory remodeling in the cortical frontoparietal network.

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Ramina Adam, David J. Schaeffer, Kevin Johnston, Ravi S. Menon, Stefan Everling, Structural alterations in cortical and thalamocortical white matter tracts after recovery from prefrontal cortex lesions in macaques, NeuroImage, Volume 232, 2021, 117919, ISSN 1053-8119, (

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