Individual variation in longitudinal postnatal development of the primate brain.


Developmental Imaging, Murdoch Children's Research Institute, Melbourne, Australia. [Email]


Quantifying individual variation in postnatal brain development can provide insight into cognitive diversity within a population and the aetiology of common neuropsychiatric and neurodevelopmental disorders. Non-invasive studies of the non-human primate can aid understanding of human brain development, facilitating longitudinal analysis during early postnatal development when comparative human populations are difficult to sample. In this study, we perform analysis of a longitudinal MRI dataset of 32 macaques, each with up to five magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scans acquired between 3 and 36 months of age. Using nonlinear mixed effects model we derive growth trajectories for whole brain, cortical and subcortical grey matter, cerebral white matter and cerebellar volume. We then test the association between individual variation in postnatal tissue volumes and birth weight. We report nonlinear growth models for all tissue compartments, as well as significant variation in total intracranial volume between individuals. We also demonstrate that regional subcortical grey matter varies both in total volume and rate of change between individuals and is associated with differences in birth weight. This supports evidence that birth weight may act as a marker of subsequent brain development and highlights the importance of longitudinal MRI analysis in developmental studies.


Brain development,Macaque,Magnetic resonance imaging,Nonlinear models,