Capuchin monkeys (Cebus apella) are New World primates with relatively large brains for their body size. The developmental trajectories of several brain regions-including cortical white matter, frontal lobe white matter, and basal ganglia nuclei-are similar to humans. Additionally, capuchins have independently evolved several behavioral and anatomical characteristics in common with humans and chimpanzees-including complex manipulative abilities, use of tools, and the use of precision grips-making them interesting species for studies of comparative brain morphology and organization. Here, we report the first investigation into the development of the corpus callosum (CC) and its regional subdivisions in capuchins. CC development was quantified using high-resolution structural magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) images from 39 socially reared subjects (male n=22; female n=18) ranging in age from 4 days (infancy) to 20 years (middle adulthood). The total area of the CC and the subdivisions of the genu, rostral midbody, medial midbody, caudal midbody, and splenium were traced from the midsagittal section. Total CC area displayed significant differences across this time span and was best explained by quadratic growth. Sustained linear growth was observed in the subdivisions of the genu, rostral midbody, and splenium; sustained quadratic growth was seen in the subdivision of the medial midbody. Differences in growth were not detected in the subdivision of the caudal midbody. Females had a larger raw area of the total CC and of the medial midbody and caudal midbody throughout the lifespan. Our results indicate that capuchins show continued white matter development beyond adolescence in regions related to cognitive and motor development.
Document Object Identifier (DOI)
Phillips, K.A., & Sherwood, C.C. (2012). Age-related differences in corpus callosum area of capuchin monkeys. Neuroscience, 202, 202-208. doi:10.1016/j.neuroscience.2011.11.074