A tension-based theory of morphogenesis and compact wiring in the central nervous system

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Abstract

Many structural features of the mammalian central nervous system can be explained by a morphogenetic mechanism that involves mechanical tension along axons, dendrites and glial processes. In the cerebral cortex, for example, tension along axons in the white matter can explain how and why the cortex folds in a characteristic species-specific pattern. In the cerebellum, tension along parallel fibers can explain why the cortex is highly elongated but folded like an accordion. By keeping the aggregate length of axonal and dendritic wiring low, tension should contribute to the compactness of neural circuitry throughout the adult brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-318
Number of pages6
JournalNature
Volume385
Issue number6614
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 23 1997

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