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Mechanisms of Connectome Development

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Marcus Kaiser



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


© 2017 The Author. At the centenary of D'Arcy Thompson's seminal work 'On Growth and Form', pioneering the description of principles of morphological changes during development and evolution, recent experimental advances allow us to study change in anatomical brain networks. Here, we outline potential principles for connectome development. We will describe recent results on how spatial and temporal factors shape connectome development in health and disease. Understanding the developmental origins of brain diseases in individuals will be crucial for deciding on personalized treatment options. We argue that longitudinal studies, experimentally derived parameters for connection formation, and biologically realistic computational models are needed to better understand the link between brain network development, network structure, and network function. Recent results on the development of structural connectomes allow us to evaluate how different factors shape the topological and spatial organization observed at the adult stage.Temporal factors, in terms of the birth time of neurons and their formation of connections, as well as spatial factors, in terms of the distance between neurons, influence the extent of bidirectional or long-distance connections, network modules, and network hubs.Observing connectome development at different stages and through computational models at the neuronal and fiber tract level can uncover the origins of healthy and pathological brain network development.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Kaiser M

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Trends in Cognitive Sciences

Year: 2017

Volume: 21

Issue: 9

Pages: 703-717

Print publication date: 01/09/2017

Online publication date: 10/06/2017

Acceptance date: 02/04/2016

Date deposited: 28/06/2017

ISSN (print): 1364-6613

ISSN (electronic): 1879-307X

Publisher: Elsevier Ltd


DOI: 10.1016/j.tics.2017.05.010


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