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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)
 
 
 

Differential regional brain growth and rotation of the prenatal human tentorium cerebelli.

Folds of dura mater, the falx cerebri and tentorium cerebelli, traverse the vertebrate endocranial cavity and compartmentalize the brain. Previous studies suggest that the tentorial fold has adopted an increasingly important role in supporting the increased load of the cerebrum during human evolution, brought about by encephalization and an adaptation to bipedal posture. Ontogenetic studies of the fetal tentorium suggest that its midline profile rotates inferoposteriorly towards the foramen magnum in response to disproportionate growth of the cerebrum. This study tests the hypothesis that differential growth of the cerebral and cerebellar components of the brain underlies the inferoposterior rotation of the tentorium cerebelli during human fetal development. Brain volumes and tentorial angles were taken from high-resolution magnetic resonance images of 46 human fetuses ranging from 10 to 29 gestational weeks. Apart from the expected increases of both supratentorial and infratentorial brain volumes with age, the results confirm previous studies showing a significant relative enlargement of the supratentorial volume. Correlated with this enlargement was a rotation of the midline section of the tentorium towards the posterior cranial base. These findings support the concept that increases of supratentorial volume relative to infratentorial volume affect an inferoposterior rotation of the human fetal tentorium cerebelli. These results are discussed in the context of the role played by the tentorium cerebelli during human evolution and underline implications for phylogenetic and ontogenetic models of encephalization.[1]

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