A model of tension-induced fiber growth predicts white matter organization during brain folding

Kara E. Garcia, Xiaojie Wang, Christopher D. Kroenke

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


The past decade has experienced renewed interest in the physical processes that fold the developing cerebral cortex. Biomechanical models and experiments suggest that growth of the cortex, outpacing growth of underlying subcortical tissue (prospective white matter), is sufficient to induce folding. However, current models do not explain the well-established links between white matter organization and fold morphology, nor do they consider subcortical remodeling that occurs during the period of folding. Here we propose a framework by which cortical folding may induce subcortical fiber growth and organization. Simulations incorporating stress-induced fiber elongation indicate that subcortical stresses resulting from folding are sufficient to induce stereotyped fiber organization beneath gyri and sulci. Model predictions are supported by high-resolution ex vivo diffusion tensor imaging of the developing rhesus macaque brain. Together, results provide support for the theory of cortical growth-induced folding and indicate that mechanical feedback plays a significant role in brain connectivity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number6681
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Physics and Astronomy(all)


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