Cortical Thickness Gradients in Structural Hierarchies
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Wagstyl, K., Ronan, L. B., Goodyer, I. M., & Fletcher, P. C. (2015). Cortical Thickness Gradients in Structural Hierarchies. NeuroImage, 111 241-250. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.02.036
MRI, enabling in vivo analysis of cortical morphology, offers a powerful tool in the assessment of brain development and pathology. One of the most ubiquitous measures used-the thickness of the cortex-shows abnormalities in a number of diseases and conditions, but the functional and biological correlates of such alterations are unclear. If the functional connotations of structural MRI measures are to be understood, we must strive to clarify the relationship between measures such as cortical thickness and their cytoarchitectural determinants. We therefore sought to determine whether patterns of cortical thickness mirror a key motif of the cortex, specifically its structural hierarchical organisation. We delineated three sensory hierarchies (visual, somatosensory and auditory) in two species-macaque and human-and explored whether cortical thickness was correlated with specific cytoarchitectural characteristics. Importantly, we controlled for cortical folding which impacts upon thickness and may obscure regional differences. Our results suggest that an easily measurable macroscopic brain parameter, namely, cortical thickness, is systematically related to cytoarchitecture and to the structural hierarchical organisation of the cortex. We argue that the measurement of cortical thickness gradients may become an important way to develop our understanding of brain structure-function relationships. The identification of alterations in such gradients may complement the observation of regionally localised cortical thickness changes in our understanding of normal development and neuropsychiatric illnesses.
Primary auditory cortex, primary motor cortex, Primary somatosensory cortex, primary visual cortex, superior parietal gyrus, superior temporal gyrus, white matter
We thank Claus Hilgetag and Sarah Beul for valuable input and Helen Barbas for providing macaque data. Human data were provided by the Human Connectome Project, WU-Minn Consortium (Principal Investi- gators: David Van Essen and Kamil Ugurbil; 1U54MH091657) funded by the 16 NIH Institutes and Centers that support the NIH Blueprint for Neuroscience Research, and by the McDonnell Center for Systems Neuroscience at Washington University. KW is supported by the Wellcome Trust and the University of Cambridge MB/PhD Programme, IG by a Wellcome Trust Strategic Award (RNAG/260) and LR and PF by the Bernard Wolfe Health Neuroscience Fund and Wellcome Trust.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.neuroimage.2015.02.036
This record's URL: https://www.repository.cam.ac.uk/handle/1810/247667
Attribution 2.0 UK: England & Wales
Licence URL: http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/uk/
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