You are here : Version anglaise > Training > Doctoral studies

Publié le November 16, 2018 | Updated on August 21, 2019

Primate cortical networks in the adult and during development

Ana Rita RIBEIRO GOMES - Under the supervision of Henry Kennedy and Kenneth Knoblauch.

The retrograde tracing experiments in macaque cortex in this thesis had two related objectives. Firstly, injections in 40 cortical areas (from a 91-area atlas) allowed the construction of a hemisphere-wide consistent database of cortical connectivity. We examined which subcortical structures promote cortical communication via the formation of cortico-subcortical-cortical loops. The claustrum, which we argue has a tight affiliation with the cortex, showed uniquely strong outputs to every cortical area. Widely separated injection pairs led to overlapping labelled neurons in the claustrum including those pairs lacking direct cortico-cortical connections. Using graph theoretic tools, we examined how central the 40 areas and claustrum are in the cortical network, specifically with respect to hub status. This showed that the claustrum is, beyond doubt, the prime hub of the cortex. These findings emphasise the importance of studying the organizational principles of the cortex via the analysis of its network topology. Secondly, we investigated the development of the corticospinal pathway, a route over which the cortex directly influences the planning, execution and control of fine voluntary movements. We show that the adult pattern of corticospinal projections emerges via a developmental process from a widespread ipsi- and contralateral distribution. These findings suggest that the developmental refinement of cortical connectivity might be dynamically regulated and primate specific