The basal ganglia are subcortical structures involved in the planning, initiation and regulation of movement as well as a variety of non-motor, cognitive and affective functions. Capuchin monkeys share several important characteristics of development with humans, including a prolonged infancy and juvenile period, a long lifespan, and complex manipulative abilities. This makes capuchins important comparative models for understanding age-related neuroanatomical changes in these structures. Here we report developmental volumetric data on the three subdivisions of the basal ganglia, the caudate, putamen and globus pallidus in brown capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Based on a cross-sectional sample, we describe brain development in 28 brown capuchin monkeys (male n = 17, female n = 11; age range = 2 months-20 years) using high-resolution structural MRI. We found that the raw volumes of the putamen and caudate varied significantly with age, decreasing in volume from birth through early adulthood. Notably, developmental changes did not differ between sexes. Because these observed developmental patterns are similar to humans, our results suggest that capuchin monkeys may be useful animal models for investigating neurodevelopmental disorders of the basal ganglia.
Phillips, K. A., Sobieski, C. A., Gilbert, V. R., Chiappini-Williamson, C., Sherwood, C. C., Strick, P. L. (2010). The development of the basal ganglia in Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella). Brain Research, 1329, 82-88. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2010.03.017