Although the maturation of the corpus callosum (CC) can serve as a sensitive marker for normative antenatal and postnatal brain development, little is known about its development across this critical period. While high-resolution magnetic resonance imaging can provide an opportunity to examine normative brain development in humans, concerns remain over the exposure of developing fetuses to non-essential imaging. Nonhuman primates can provide a valuable model for normative brain maturation. Baboons share several important developmental characteristics with humans, including a highly orchestrated pattern of cerebral development. Developmental changes in total CC area and its subdivisions were examined across the antenatal (weeks 17 – 26 of 28 weeks total gestation) and early postnatal (to week 32) period in baboons (Papio hamadryas anubis). Thirteen fetal and sixteen infant baboons were studied using high-resolution MRI. During the period of primary gyrification, the total area of the CC increased by a magnitude of five. By postnatal week 32, the total CC area attained only 51% of the average adult area. CC subdivisions showed non-uniform increases in area, throughout development. The splenium showed the most maturation by postnatal week 32, attaining 55% of the average adult value. The subdivisions of the genu and anterior midbody showed the least maturation by postnatal week 32, attaining 50% and 49% of the average adult area. Thus, the CC of baboons shows continued growth past the postnatal period. These age-related changes in the developing baboon CC are consistent with the developmental course in humans.
Phillips, K. A., & Kochunov, P. (2011). Tracking development of the corpus callosum in fetal and early postnatal baboons using magnetic resonance imaging. Open Neuroimaging Journal, 5, 179-185. doi: 10.2174/1874440001105010179
Open Neuroimaging Journal