Segregation of the brain into gray and white matter: a design minimizing conduction delays

Wen, Q., Chklovskii, D. B. (December 2005) Segregation of the brain into gray and white matter: a design minimizing conduction delays. PLoS Comput Biol, 1 (7). e78. ISSN 1553-7358 (Electronic)

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DOI: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.0010078

Abstract

A ubiquitous feature of the vertebrate anatomy is the segregation of the brain into white and gray matter. Assuming that evolution maximized brain functionality, what is the reason for such segregation? To answer this question, we posit that brain functionality requires high interconnectivity and short conduction delays. Based on this assumption we searched for the optimal brain architecture by comparing different candidate designs. We found that the optimal design depends on the number of neurons, interneuronal connectivity, and axon diameter. In particular, the requirement to connect neurons with many fast axons drives the segregation of the brain into white and gray matter. These results provide a possible explanation for the structure of various regions of the vertebrate brain, such as the mammalian neocortex and neostriatum, the avian telencephalon, and the spinal cord.

Item Type: Paper
Additional Information:
Uncontrolled Keywords: Animals Brain anatomy histology cytology physiology Color Models Neurological Neural Pathways anatomy histology cytology physiology
Subjects: bioinformatics > genomics and proteomics > design
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > tissues types and functions > axon
organs, tissues, organelles, cell types and functions > organs types and functions > brain
CSHL Authors:
Communities: CSHL labs > Chklovskii lab
Depositing User: CSHL Librarian
Date: December 2005
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2011 16:41
Last Modified: 21 Dec 2011 16:41
URI: http://repository.cshl.edu/id/eprint/22733

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