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Defining putative tertiary sulci in lateral prefrontal cortex in chimpanzees using human predictions

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Brain Struct Funct. 2023 May 17. doi: 10.1007/s00429-023-02638-7. Online ahead of print.


Similarities and differences in brain structure and function across species are of major interest in systems neuroscience, comparative biology, and brain mapping. Recently, increased emphasis has been placed on tertiary sulci, which are shallow indentations of the cerebral cortex that appear last in gestation, continue to develop after birth, and are largely either human or hominoid specific. While tertiary sulcal morphology in lateral prefrontal cortex (LPFC) has been linked to functional representations and cognition in humans, it is presently unknown if small and shallow LPFC sulci also exist in non-human hominoids. To fill this gap in knowledge, we leveraged two freely available multimodal datasets to address the following main question: Can small and shallow LPFC sulci be defined in chimpanzee cortical surfaces from human predictions of LPFC tertiary sulci? We found that 1-3 components of the posterior middle frontal sulcus (pmfs) in the posterior middle frontal gyrus are identifiable in nearly all chimpanzee hemispheres. In stark contrast to the consistency of the pmfs components, we could only identify components of the paraintermediate frontal sulcus (pimfs) in two chimpanzee hemispheres. Putative LPFC tertiary sulci were relatively smaller and shallower in chimpanzees compared to humans. In both species, two of the pmfs components were deeper in the right compared to the left hemisphere. As these results have direct implications for future studies interested in the functional and cognitive role of LPFC tertiary sulci, we share probabilistic predictions of the three pmfs components to guide the definitions of these sulci in future studies.

PMID:37195311 | DOI:10.1007/s00429-023-02638-7

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