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Fetal Brain

Jon Wilson, MD neuropathologist at arkana laboratories
By Jon Wilson, MD

Feb 04, 2022

Fetal Brain
Figure 1: Fetal Brain

This image shows the brain of a twenty-six-week-old stillborn baby.

What anatomic landmark is marked by the arrow in figure 1?

A. Cingulate sulcus

B. Central sulcus

C. Precentral sulcus

D. Postcentral sulcus


Fetal Brain

Figure 1: Fetal Brain


Answer: Central sulcus 


The arrow points toward the central sulcus (also known as the Rolandic sulcus or fissure). It marks the border between primary motor (precentral gyrus) and primary somatosensory (postcentral gyrus) cortices as well as the boundary between frontal and parietal lobes.  

The development of brain sulci (sulcation) and gyri (gyrification) is felt to represent mechanical folding of the cortex due to greater expansion of the superficial cortical layers relative to the deeper tissue of the brain.  This mechanism is nicely demonstrated by Tallinen et al (see reference(s) / additional reading).

Advances in neuroimaging have enabled evaluation of fetal brain development in-utero.  


References/Additional Reading

Larroche JC. Morphological criteria of central nervous system development in the human foetus. J Neuroradiol. 1981;8(2):93-108. English, French. PMID: 7320759.

Tallinen T, Chung JY, Biggins JS, Mahadevan L. Gyrification from constrained cortical expansion. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2014 Sep 2;111(35):12667-72. doi: 10.1073/pnas.1406015111. Epub 2014 Aug 18. PMID: 25136099; PMCID: PMC4156754.

Huang H, Xue R, Zhang J, Ren T, Richards LJ, Yarowsky P, Miller MI, Mori S. Anatomical characterization of human fetal brain development with diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging. J Neurosci. 2009 Apr 1;29(13):4263-73. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.2769-08.2009. PMID: 19339620; PMCID: PMC2721010.

Moltoni G, Talenti G, Righini A. Brain fetal neuroradiology: a beginner’s guide. Transl Pediatr. 2021 Apr;10(4):1065-1077. doi: 10.21037/tp-20-293. PMID: 34012856; PMCID: PMC8107845.


Quick note: This post is to be used for informational purposes only and does not constitute medical or health advice. Each person should consult their own doctor with respect to matters referenced. Arkana Laboratories assumes no liability for actions taken in reliance upon the information contained herein.