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Nat Neurosci. 2018 Sep;21(9):1251-1259. doi: 10.1038/s41593-018-0195-0. Epub 2018 Aug 6.

Hierarchy of transcriptomic specialization across human cortex captured by structural neuroimaging topography.

Author information

1
Department of Physics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
2
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA.
3
Neuroscience Program, Tulane University, New Orleans, LA, USA.
4
Interdepartmental Neuroscience Program, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA.
5
BlackThorn Therapeutics, San Francisco, CA, USA.
6
Department of Engineering, University of Cambridge, Cambridge, UK.
7
Department of Physics, Yale University, New Haven, CT, USA. john.murray@yale.edu.
8
Department of Psychiatry, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT, USA. john.murray@yale.edu.

Abstract

Hierarchy provides a unifying principle for the macroscale organization of anatomical and functional properties across primate cortex, yet microscale bases of specialization across human cortex are poorly understood. Anatomical hierarchy is conventionally informed by invasive tract-tracing measurements, creating a need for a principled proxy measure in humans. Moreover, cortex exhibits marked interareal variation in gene expression, yet organizing principles of cortical transcription remain unclear. We hypothesized that specialization of cortical microcircuitry involves hierarchical gradients of gene expression. We found that a noninvasive neuroimaging measure-MRI-derived T1-weighted/T2-weighted (T1w/T2w) mapping-reliably indexes anatomical hierarchy, and it captures the dominant pattern of transcriptional variation across human cortex. We found hierarchical gradients in expression profiles of genes related to microcircuit function, consistent with monkey microanatomy, and implicated in neuropsychiatric disorders. Our findings identify a hierarchical axis linking cortical transcription and anatomy, along which gradients of microscale properties may contribute to the macroscale specialization of cortical function.

PMID:
30082915
PMCID:
PMC6119093
DOI:
10.1038/s41593-018-0195-0
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

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