Rhesus monkey brain development during late infancy and the effect of phencyclidine: a longitudinal MRI and DTI study

Neuroimage. 2015 Feb 15;107:65-75. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2014.11.056. Epub 2014 Dec 5.


Early brain development is a complex and rapid process, the disturbance of which may cause the onset of brain disorders. Based on longitudinal imaging data acquired from 6 to 16 months postnatal, we describe a systematic trajectory of monkey brain development during late infancy, and demonstrate the influence of phencyclidine (PCP) on this trajectory. Although the general developmental trajectory of the monkey brain was close to that of the human brain, the development in monkeys was faster and regionally specific. Gray matter volume began to decrease during late infancy in monkeys, much earlier than in humans in whom it occurs in adolescence. Additionally, the decrease of gray matter volume in higher-order association regions (the frontal, parietal and temporal lobes) occurred later than in regions for primary functions (the occipital lobe and cerebellum). White matter volume displayed an increasing trend in most brain regions, but not in the occipital lobe, which had a stable volume. In addition, based on diffusion tensor imaging, we found an increase in fractional anisotropy and a decrease in diffusivity, which may be associated with myelination and axonal changes in white matter tracts. Meanwhile, we tested the influence of 14-day PCP treatment on the developmental trajectories. Such treatment tended to accelerated brain maturation during late infancy, although not statistically significant. These findings provide comparative information for the understanding of primate brain maturation and neurodevelopmental disorders.

Keywords: Infant; Neurodevelopment; Phencyclidine; Primates; Template.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain / anatomy & histology
  • Brain / drug effects*
  • Brain / growth & development*
  • Diffusion Tensor Imaging
  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Gray Matter / anatomy & histology
  • Gray Matter / drug effects
  • Gray Matter / growth & development
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Male
  • Neural Pathways / drug effects
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development
  • Phencyclidine / pharmacology*
  • White Matter / anatomy & histology
  • White Matter / drug effects
  • White Matter / growth & development


  • Excitatory Amino Acid Antagonists
  • Phencyclidine