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From Circuit Principles to Human Psychiatric Disorders

  • Helen Barbas
    Correspondence
    Address correspondence to Helen Barbas, Ph.D.
    Affiliations
    Neural Systems Laboratory, Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

    Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, Boston University School of Medicine, Boston, Massachusetts
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  • Claus C. Hilgetag
    Affiliations
    Neural Systems Laboratory, Department of Health Sciences, Boston University, Boston, Massachusetts

    Institute of Computational Neuroscience, University Medical Center Eppendorf, Hamburg University, Hamburg, Germany
    Search for articles by this author
      Progress in mapping the human brain using diffusion tensor imaging and similar tractography approaches has raised hopes that noninvasive methods can be leveraged to understand connections in humans and their change in brain diseases. These hopes rest on the knowledge that the primate cortex is a complex communication center, whose disruption is at the core of psychiatric diseases [e.g., (
      • Foss-Feig J.H.
      • Adkinson B.D.
      • Ji J.L.
      • Yang G.
      • Srihari V.H.
      • McPartland J.C.
      • et al.
      Searching for cross-diagnostic convergence: Neural mechanisms governing excitation and inhibition balance in schizophrenia and autism spectrum disorders.
      )]. We provide an overview of principles derived from the study of the systematic variation of the cortex and connections in nonhuman primates to highlight how they can be used to inform the specificity of connections with imaging of the human brain. Importantly, animal models reveal the direction of connections and their origin and termination within distinct excitatory and inhibitory laminar microenvironments that are not obtained from imaging studies in humans.
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