It is obvious that different brain regions must communicate with each other to control complex thoughts and behaviors. However, relatively little is known about how these areas organize into broad neuronal networks.
In a study published by Cell Press February 27th in the journal Cell
, researchers developed a mouse whole-brain atlas that reveals hundreds of neuronal pathways in a brain structure called the cerebral cortex. The online, open access, interactive image database, called the Mouse Connectome Project, provides an invaluable resource for researchers interested in studying the anatomy and function of cortical networks throughout the brain.
"This study is the first comprehensive mapping of the most developed region of the mammalian brain: the cerebral cortex," says senior study author Hong-Wei Dong of the University of Southern California, Los Angeles. "Scientists can now use this anatomical map as a testable framework for exploring how each structure contributes to overall brain function."