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Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2019 Dec 23. pii: 201902299. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1902299116. [Epub ahead of print]

Cerebral cortical folding, parcellation, and connectivity in humans, nonhuman primates, and mice.

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Department of Neuroscience, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110;
Department of Neuroscience, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110.
Univ Lyon, Université Claude Bernard Lyon 1, INSERM, Stem Cell and Brain Research Institute U1208, 69500 Bron, France.
Institute of Neuroscience, Center for Excellence in Brain Science and Intelligence Technology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Shanghai 200031, China.
Shanghai Center for Brain Science and Brain-Inspired Intelligence Technology, Shanghai 200031, China.
Laboratory for Brain Connectomics Imaging, RIKEN Center for Biosystems Dynamics Research, Kobe, 650-0047, Japan.
Department of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis, MO 63110.


Advances in neuroimaging and neuroanatomy have yielded major insights concerning fundamental principles of cortical organization and evolution, thus speaking to how well different species serve as models for human brain function in health and disease. Here, we focus on cortical folding, parcellation, and connectivity in mice, marmosets, macaques, and humans. Cortical folding patterns vary dramatically across species, and individual variability in cortical folding increases with cortical surface area. Such issues are best analyzed using surface-based approaches that respect the topology of the cortical sheet. Many aspects of cortical organization can be revealed using 1 type of information (modality) at a time, such as maps of cortical myelin content. However, accurate delineation of the entire mosaic of cortical areas requires a multimodal approach using information about function, architecture, connectivity, and topographic organization. Comparisons across the 4 aforementioned species reveal dramatic differences in the total number and arrangement of cortical areas, particularly between rodents and primates. Hemispheric variability and bilateral asymmetry are most pronounced in humans, which we evaluated using a high-quality multimodal parcellation of hundreds of individuals. Asymmetries include modest differences in areal size but not in areal identity. Analyses of cortical connectivity using anatomical tracers reveal highly distributed connectivity and a wide range of connection weights in monkeys and mice; indirect measures using functional MRI suggest a similar pattern in humans. Altogether, a multifaceted but integrated approach to exploring cortical organization in primate and nonprimate species provides complementary advantages and perspectives.


cerebral cortex; macaque; marmoset; neuroanatomy; neuroimaging

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