Evolutional and developmental anatomical architecture of the left inferior frontal gyrus

Neuroimage. 2020 Nov 15;222:117268. doi: 10.1016/j.neuroimage.2020.117268. Epub 2020 Aug 18.


The left inferior frontal gyrus (IFG) including Broca's area is involved in the processing of many language subdomains, and thus, research on the evolutional and human developmental characteristics of the left IFG will shed light on how language emerges and maturates. In this study, we used diffusion magnetic resonance imaging (dMRI) and resting-state functional MRI (fMRI) to investigate the evolutional and developmental patterns of the left IFG in humans (age 6-8, age 11-13, and age 16-18 years) and macaques. Tractography-based parcellation was used to define the subcomponents of left IFG and consistently identified four subregions in both humans and macaques. This parcellation scheme for left IFG in human was supported by specific coactivation patterns and functional characterization for each subregion. During evolution and development, we found increased functional balance, amplitude of low frequency fluctuations, functional integration, and functional couplings. We also observed higher fractional anisotropy values, i.e. better myelination of dorsal and ventral white matter language pathways during evolution and development. We assume that the resting-state functional connectivity and task-related coactivation mapping are associated with hierarchical language processing. Our findings have shown the evolutional and human developmental patterns of left IFG, and will contribute to the understanding of how the human language evolves and how atypical language developmental disorders may occur.

Keywords: Development; Evolution; Language; Left inferior frontal gyrus; Magnetic resonance imaging; Parcellation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Brain Mapping / methods
  • Child
  • Comprehension / physiology
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Humans
  • Image Processing, Computer-Assisted / methods
  • Language*
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging / methods
  • Male
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / growth & development
  • Prefrontal Cortex / physiology*