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Cereb Cortex. 2010 May;20(5):1053-63. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhp166. Epub 2009 Aug 24.

Maturational trajectories of cortical brain development through the pubertal transition: unique species and sex differences in the monkey revealed through structural magnetic resonance imaging.

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Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA.


Characterizing normal brain development in the rhesus macaque is a necessary prerequisite for establishing better nonhuman primate models of neuropathology. Structural magnetic resonance imaging scans were obtained on 37 rhesus monkeys (20 Male, 17 Female) between 10 and 64 months of age. Effects of age and sex were analyzed with a cross-sectional design. Gray matter (GM) and white matter (WM) volumes were determined for total brain and major cortical regions using an automatic segmentation and parcellation pipeline. Volumes of major subcortical structures were evaluated. Unlike neural maturation in humans, GM volumes did not show a postpubertal decline in most cortical regions, with the notable exception of the prefrontal cortex. Similar to humans, WM volumes increased through puberty with less change thereafter. Caudate, putamen, amygdala, and hippocampus increased linearly as did the corpus callosum. Males and females showed similar maturational patterns, although males had significantly larger brain volumes. Females had a proportionately larger caudate, putamen, and hippocampus, whereas males had both an absolute and relatively larger corpus callosum. The authors discuss the possible implications of these findings for research using the rhesus macaque as a model for neurodevelopmental disorders.

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