Longitudinal analysis of the developing rhesus monkey brain using magnetic resonance imaging: birth to adulthood

Julia A. Scott, David Grayson, Evan Fletcher, Aaron Lee, Melissa D Bauman, Cynthia Schumann, Michael H. Buonocore, David G Amaral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

44 Scopus citations


We have longitudinally assessed normative brain growth patterns in naturalistically reared Macaca mulatta monkeys. Postnatal to early adulthood brain development in two cohorts of rhesus monkeys was analyzed using magnetic resonance imaging. Cohort A consisted of 24 rhesus monkeys (12 male, 12 female) and cohort B of 21 monkeys (11 male, 10 female). All subjects were scanned at 1, 4, 8, 13, 26, 39, and 52 weeks; cohort A had additional scans at 156 weeks (3 years) and 260 weeks (5 years). Age-specific segmentation templates were developed for automated volumetric analyses of the T1-weighted magnetic resonance imaging scans. Trajectories of total brain size as well as cerebral and subcortical subdivisions were evaluated over this period. Total brain volume was about 64 % of adult estimates in the 1-week-old monkey. Brain volume of the male subjects was always, on average, larger than the female subjects. While brain volume generally increased between any two imaging time points, there was a transient plateau of brain growth between 26 and 39 weeks in both cohorts of monkeys. The trajectory of enlargement differed across cortical regions with the occipital cortex demonstrating the most idiosyncratic pattern of maturation and the frontal and temporal lobes showing the greatest and most protracted growth. A variety of allometric measurements were also acquired and body weight gain was most closely associated with the rate of brain growth. These findings provide a valuable baseline for the effects of fetal and early postnatal manipulations on the pattern of abnormal brain growth related to neurodevelopmental disorders.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2847-2871
Number of pages25
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number5
StatePublished - Jun 1 2016


  • Allometry
  • Development
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Nonhuman primate
  • Sexual dimorphism

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)
  • Anatomy
  • Histology


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