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Mechanisms of circumferential gyral convolution in primate brains.

ABSTRACT

Mammalian cerebral cortices are characterized by elaborate convolutions. Radial convolutions exhibit homology across primate species and generally are easily identified in individuals of the same species. In contrast, circumferential convolutions vary across species as well as individuals of the same species. However, systematic study of circumferential convolution patterns is lacking. To address this issue, we utilized structural MRI (sMRI) and diffusion MRI (dMRI) data from primate brains. We quantified cortical thickness and circumferential convolutions on gyral banks in relation to axonal pathways and density along the gray matter/white matter boundaries. Based on these observations, we performed a series of computational simulations. Results demonstrated that the interplay of heterogeneous cortex growth and mechanical forces along axons plays a vital role in the regulation of circumferential convolutions. In contrast, gyral geometry controls the complexity of circumferential convolutions. These findings offer insight into the mystery of circumferential convolutions in primate brains.