Research Paper Volume 12, Issue 13 pp 13147—13159

Articulation rehabilitation induces cortical plasticity in adults with non-syndromic cleft lip and palate

Zhen Li1,2, *, , Wenjing Zhang3, *, , Chunlin Li1,2, *, , Mengyue Wang1,2, , Songjian Wang1,2, , Renji Chen3, , Xu Zhang1,2, ,

  • 1 School of Biomedical Engineering, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
  • 2 Beijing Key Laboratory of Fundamental Research on Biomechanics in Clinical Application, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
  • 3 Department of Oral and Maxillofacial Plastic and Trauma Surgery, Center of Cleft Lip and Palate Treatment, Beijing Stomatological Hospital, Capital Medical University, Beijing, China
* Equal contribution

Received: January 20, 2020       Accepted: May 25, 2020       Published: July 3, 2020
How to Cite

Copyright © 2020 Li et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY 3.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.


In this study, we investigated brain morphological changes in adults with non-syndromic cleft lip and palate (NSCLP) after articulation rehabilitation (AR). High-resolution T1 weighted brain magnetic resonance imaging data were analyzed from 45 adults with NSCLP after palatoplasty: 24 subjects were assessed before AR (bNSCLP) and 21 subjects were assessed after AR (aNSCLP). In addition, there were 24 age and sex matched controls. Intergroup differences of grey matter volume were evaluated as a comprehensive measure of the cortex; cortical thickness and cortical complexity (gyrification and fractal dimensions) were also analyzed. As compared to controls, the bNSCLP subjects exhibited altered indexes in frontal, temporal, and parietal lobes; these morphological changes are characteristic for adults with NSCLP. Importantly, as compared to the bNSCLP and control subjects, the aNSCLP subjects exhibited cortical plasticity in the regions involved in language, auditory, pronunciation planning, and execution functions. The AR-mediated cortical plasticity in aNSCLP subjects may be caused by AR-induced cortical neurogenesis, which might reflect the underlying neural mechanism during AR.


NSCLP: non-syndromic cleft lip and/or palate; AR: Articulation Rehabilitation; GMV: gray matter volume; CT: cortical thickness; FD: fractal dimension; TIV: total intracranial volume; IFG: inferior frontal gyrus; PoCG: postcentral gyrus; HIP: hippocampus; PHIP: parahippocampal; SMA: supplementary motor area; IPL: inferior parietal lobule; ITG: inferior temporal gyrus.