Longitudinal development of cortical thickness, folding, and fiber density networks in the first 2 years of life

Hum Brain Mapp. 2014 Aug;35(8):3726-37. doi: 10.1002/hbm.22432. Epub 2013 Dec 21.


Quantitatively characterizing the development of cortical anatomical networks during the early stage of life plays an important role in revealing the relationship between cortical structural connection and high-level functional development. The development of correlation networks of cortical-thickness, cortical folding, and fiber-density is systematically analyzed in this article to study the relationship between different anatomical properties during the first 2 years of life. Specifically, longitudinal MR images of 73 healthy subjects from birth to 2 year old are used. For each subject at each time point, its measures of cortical thickness, cortical folding, and fiber density are projected to its cortical surface that has been partitioned into 78 cortical regions. Then, the correlation matrices for cortical thickness, cortical folding, and fiber density at each time point can be constructed, respectively, by computing the inter-regional Pearson correlation coefficient (of any pair of ROIs) across all 73 subjects. Finally, the presence/absence pattern (i.e., binary pattern) of the connection network is constructed from each inter-regional correlation matrix, and its statistical and anatomical properties are adopted to analyze the longitudinal development of anatomical networks. The results show that the development of anatomical network could be characterized differently by using different anatomical properties (i.e., using cortical thickness, cortical folding, or fiber density).

Keywords: anatomical network; cortical development; cortical folding; early brain development.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Child Development
  • Child, Preschool
  • Diffusion Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted
  • Infant
  • Infant, Newborn
  • Longitudinal Studies
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development
  • Organ Size