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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2010 Oct 19;107(42):18191-6. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1003109107. Epub 2010 Oct 4.

Network-level structural covariance in the developing brain.

Author information

1
Department of Neurology, University of California, San Francisco, CA 94143-0114, USA.

Abstract

Intrinsic or resting state functional connectivity MRI and structural covariance MRI have begun to reveal the adult human brain's multiple network architectures. How and when these networks emerge during development remains unclear, but understanding ontogeny could shed light on network function and dysfunction. In this study, we applied structural covariance MRI techniques to 300 children in four age categories (early childhood, 5-8 y; late childhood, 8.5-11 y; early adolescence, 12-14 y; late adolescence, 16-18 y) to characterize gray matter structural relationships between cortical nodes that make up large-scale functional networks. Network nodes identified from eight widely replicated functional intrinsic connectivity networks served as seed regions to map whole-brain structural covariance patterns in each age group. In general, structural covariance in the youngest age group was limited to seed and contralateral homologous regions. Networks derived using primary sensory and motor cortex seeds were already well-developed in early childhood but expanded in early adolescence before pruning to a more restricted topology resembling adult intrinsic connectivity network patterns. In contrast, language, social-emotional, and other cognitive networks were relatively undeveloped in younger age groups and showed increasingly distributed topology in older children. The so-called default-mode network provided a notable exception, following a developmental trajectory more similar to the primary sensorimotor systems. Relationships between functional maturation and structural covariance networks topology warrant future exploration.

PMID:
20921389
PMCID:
PMC2964249
DOI:
10.1073/pnas.1003109107
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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