The role of thickness inhomogeneities in hierarchical cortical folding

BioRxiv : the Preprint Server for Biology
L. da Costa CamposSvenja Caspers

Abstract

The morphology of the mammalian brain cortex is highly folded. For long it has been known that specific patterns of folding are necessary for an optimally functioning brain. On the extremes, lissencephaly, a lack of folds in humans, and polymicrogyria, an overly folded brain, can lead to severe mental retardation, short life expectancy, epileptic seizures, and tetraplegia. The construction of a quantitative model on how and why these folds appear during the development of the brain is the first step in understanding the cause of these conditions. In recent years, there have been various attempts to understand and model the mechanisms of brain folding. Previous works have shown that mechanical instabilities play a crucial role in the formation of brain folds, and that the geometry of the fetal brain is one of the main factors in dictating the folding characteristics. However, modeling higher-order folding, one of the main characteristics of the highly gyrencephalic brain, has not been fully tackled. The effects of thickness inhomogeneity in the gyrogenesis of the mammalian brain are studied in silico. Finite-element simulations of rectangular slabs are performed. The slabs are divided into two distinct regions, where the outer l...Continue Reading

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