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Cereb Cortex. 2015 May;25(5):1176-87. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bht312. Epub 2013 Nov 17.

Consistent anterior-posterior segregation of the insula during the first 2 years of life.

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Department of Radiology and Biomedical Research Imaging Center.
Department of Radiology.
Department of Psychiatry, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, NC, USA.


The human insula is a complex region characterized by heterogeneous cytoarchitecture, connectivity, and function. Subregional parcellation of the insula in adults has revealed an interesting anterior-posterior subdivision pattern that is highly consistent with its functional differentiation. However, the development of the insula's subregional segregation during the first 2 years of life remains unknown. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that similar segregation of the insula exists during this critical time period based on the resting-state functional magnetic resonance imaging study of a large cohort of infants (n = 143) with longitudinal scans. Our results confirmed a consistent anterior-posterior subdivision of the insula during the first 2 years of life with dissociable connectivity patterns associated with each cluster. Specifically, the anterior insula coupled more with frontal association areas, whereas the posterior insula integrated more with sensorimotor-related regions. More importantly, dramatic development of each subregion's functional network was observed, providing important neuronal correlates for the rapid advancement of its related functions during this time period.


development; functional connectivity; insula; resting state

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