Spatial and temporal variations in cortical growth were studied in the neonatal ferret to illuminate the mechanisms of folding of the cerebral cortex. Cortical surface representations were created from magnetic resonance images acquired between postnatal day 4 and 35. Global measures of shape (e.g., surface area, normalized curvature, and sulcal depth) were calculated. In 2 ferrets, relative cortical growth was calculated between surfaces created from in vivo images acquired at P14, P21, and P28. The isocortical surface area transitions from a slower (12.7 mm2/day per hemisphere) to a higher rate of growth (36.7 mm2/day per hemisphere) approximately 13 days after birth, which coincides with the time of transition from neuronal proliferation to cellular morphological differentiation. Relative cortical growth increases as a function of relative geodesic distance from the origin of the transverse neurogenetic gradient and is related to the change in fractional diffusion anisotropy over the same time period. The methods presented here can be applied to study cortical growth during development in other animal models or human infants. Our results provide a quantitative spatial and temporal description of folding in cerebral cortex of the developing ferret brain, which will be important to understand the underlying mechanisms that drive folding.
- fractional anisotropy
- intrasubject registration
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cognitive Neuroscience
- Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience