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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2009 Nov 17;106(46):19551-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.0907655106. Epub 2009 Oct 29.

Evolution amplified processing with temporally dispersed slow neuronal connectivity in primates.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Rome La Sapienza, 00185 Rome Italy.


The corpus callosum (CC) provides the main route of communication between the 2 hemispheres of the brain. In monkeys, chimpanzees, and humans, callosal axons of distinct size interconnect functionally different cortical areas. Thinner axons in the genu and in the posterior body of the CC interconnect the prefrontal and parietal areas, respectively, and thicker axons in the midbody and in the splenium interconnect primary motor, somatosensory, and visual areas. At all locations, axon diameter, and hence its conduction velocity, increases slightly in the chimpanzee compared with the macaque because of an increased number of large axons but not between the chimpanzee and man. This, together with the longer connections in larger brains, doubles the expected conduction delays between the hemispheres, from macaque to man, and amplifies their range about 3-fold. These changes can have several consequences for cortical dynamics, particularly on the cycle of interhemispheric oscillators.

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