Parallel trends in cortical gray and white matter architecture and connections in primates allow fine study of pathways in humans and reveal network disruptions in autism
García-Cabezas, Miguel Ángel
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Citation (published version)Basilis Zikopoulos, Miguel Ángel García-Cabezas, Helen Barbas. 2018. "Parallel trends in cortical gray and white matter architecture and connections in primates allow fine study of pathways in humans and reveal network disruptions in autism.." PLoS Biol, v. 16, issue 2
Noninvasive imaging and tractography methods have yielded information on broad communication networks but lack resolution to delineate intralaminar cortical and subcortical pathways in humans. An important unanswered question is whether we can use the wealth of precise information on pathways from monkeys to understand connections in humans. We addressed this question within a theoretical framework of systematic cortical variation and used identical high-resolution methods to compare the architecture of cortical gray matter and the white matter beneath, which gives rise to short- and long-distance pathways in humans and rhesus monkeys. We used the prefrontal cortex as a model system because of its key role in attention, emotions, and executive function, which are processes often affected in brain diseases. We found striking parallels and consistent trends in the gray and white matter architecture in humans and monkeys and between the architecture and actual connections mapped with neural tracers in rhesus monkeys and, by extension, in humans. Using the novel architectonic portrait as a base, we found significant changes in pathways between nearby prefrontal and distant areas in autism. Our findings reveal that a theoretical framework allows study of normal neural communication in humans at high resolution and specific disruptions in diverse psychiatric and neurodegenerative diseases.
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