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Mechanism of Consistent Gyrus Formation: an Experimental and Computational Study.

ABSTRACT

As a significant type of cerebral cortical convolution pattern, the gyrus is widely preserved across species. Although many hypotheses have been proposed to study the underlying mechanisms of gyrus formation, it is currently still far from clear which factors contribute to the regulation of consistent gyrus formation. In this paper, we employ a joint analysis scheme of experimental data and computational modeling to investigate the fundamental mechanism of gyrus formation. Experimental data on mature human brains and fetal brains show that thicker cortices are consistently found in gyral regions and gyral cortices have higher growth rates. We hypothesize that gyral convolution patterns might stem from heterogeneous regional growth in the cortex. Our computational simulations show that gyral convex patterns may occur in locations where the cortical plate grows faster than the cortex of the brain. Global differential growth can only produce a random gyrification pattern, but it cannot guarantee gyrus formation at certain locations. Based on extensive computational modeling and simulations, it is suggested that a special area in the cerebral cortex with a relatively faster growth speed could consistently engender gyri.