Role of mechanical constraints on the establishment of neocortical organisation
Roberto Toro (Institut Pasteur)
The mammalian brain is astonishingly diverse. Not only its size varies several orders of magnitude – from the 3 grams of the mouse brain to the 6 kg of the blue whale brain – but also its geometry and function. There is indeed a striking, largely unexplained, relationship between the folding of the mammalian brain and its cellular, functional and connective organisation. Brain folding appears as much more than a mere mechanical epiphenomenon, and besides its major evolutionary relevance, many psychiatric disorders such as autism or schizophrenia, are related to changes in brain folding.
I will present a brief overview of the developmental processes leading to the folding of the brain, and show some examples of functional correlates of brain folding in humans and other mammalian species. Finally, I will discuss some of the current theories proposed to explain the mechanism underlying the relationship between brain geometry and brain organisation, including our ongoing project on computational modelling and analysis of the development of the ferret brain.