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  Apparent thinning of human visual cortex during childhood is associated with myelination

Natu, V. S., Gomez, J., Barnett, M., Jeska, B., Kirilina, E., Jäger, C., et al. (2019). Apparent thinning of human visual cortex during childhood is associated with myelination. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 116(41), 20750-20759. doi:10.1073/pnas.1904931116.

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Natu, Vaidehi S.1, 2, Author
Gomez, Jesse3, Author
Barnett, Michael4, Author
Jeska, Brianna1, Author
Kirilina, Evgeniya5, 6, Author           
Jäger, Carsten5, Author           
Zhen, Zonglei, Author
Cox, Siobhan, Author
Weiner, Kevin S.7, 8, Author
Weiskopf, Nikolaus5, Author           
Grill-Spector, Kalanit1, 3, 9, Author
1Department of Psychology, Stanford University, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              
2Department of Neurological Surgery, University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, Dallas, TX, USA, ou_persistent22              
3Neurosciences Program, Stanford University School of Medicine, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              
4Department of Psychology, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, PA, USA, ou_persistent22              
5Department Neurophysics (Weiskopf), MPI for Human Cognitive and Brain Sciences, Max Planck Society, ou_2205649              
6Center for Cognitive Neuroscience Berlin (CCNB), FU Berlin, Germany, ou_persistent22              
7Department of Psychology, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              
8Helen Wills Neuroscience Institute, University of California, Berkeley, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              
9Wu Tsai Neurosciences Institute, Stanford University, CA, USA, ou_persistent22              


Free keywords: Development; Cortical thickness; Quantitative MRI; Diffusion MRI; Longitudinal
 Abstract: Human cortex appears to thin during childhood development. However, the underlying microstructural mechanisms are unknown. Using functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI), quantitative MRI (qMRI), and diffusion MRI (dMRI) in children and adults, we tested what quantitative changes occur to gray and white matter in ventral temporal cortex (VTC) from childhood to adulthood, and how these changes relate to cortical thinning. T1 relaxation time from qMRI and mean diffusivity (MD) from dMRI provide independent and complementary measurements of microstructural properties of gray and white matter tissue. In face- and character-selective regions in lateral VTC, T1 and MD decreased from age 5 to adulthood in mid and deep cortex, as well as in their adjacent white matter. T1 reduction also occurred longitudinally in children’s brain regions. T1 and MD decreases 1) were consistent with tissue growth related to myelination, which we verified with adult histological myelin stains, and 2) were correlated with apparent cortical thinning. In contrast, in place-selective cortex in medial VTC, we found no development of T1 or MD after age 5, and thickness was related to cortical morphology. These findings suggest that lateral VTC likely becomes more myelinated from childhood to adulthood, affecting the contrast of MR images and, in turn, the apparent gray–white boundary. These findings are important because they suggest that VTC does not thin during childhood but instead gets more myelinated. Our data have broad ramifications for understanding both typical and atypical brain development using advanced in vivo quantitative measurements and clinical conditions implicating myelin.


Language(s): eng - English
 Dates: 2019-03-302019-08-272019-09-232019-10-08
 Publication Status: Published in print
 Pages: -
 Publishing info: -
 Table of Contents: -
 Rev. Type: Peer
 Identifiers: DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1904931116
PMID: 31548375
Other: Epub 2019
 Degree: -



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Project name : -
Grant ID : 1R01EY022318 ; 1R01EY023915 ; 5T32EY020485
Funding program : -
Funding organization : National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Project name : -
Grant ID : F31EY027201
Funding program : National Research Service Award
Funding organization : National Institutes of Health (NIH)
Project name : Non-Invasive In-Vivo Histology in Health and Disease Using Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) / HMRI
Grant ID : 616905
Funding program : Funding Programme 7
Funding organization : European Commission (EC)
Project name : Entschlüsselung der pathophysiologischen Prozesse induziert durch eine Querschnittlähmung: Anwendung von MRT basierter in vivo und ex vivo Histologie / hMRIofSCI
Grant ID : 01EW1711A ; 01EW1711B
Funding program : ERA-NET NEURON
Funding organization : German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF)

Source 1

Title: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
  Other : Proc. Acad. Sci. USA
  Other : Proc. Acad. Sci. U.S.A.
  Other : Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the USA
  Abbreviation : PNAS
Source Genre: Journal
Publ. Info: Washington, D.C. : National Academy of Sciences
Pages: - Volume / Issue: 116 (41) Sequence Number: - Start / End Page: 20750 - 20759 Identifier: ISSN: 0027-8424
CoNE: https://pure.mpg.de/cone/journals/resource/954925427230