Intrinsic functional clustering of anterior cingulate cortex in the common marmoset
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© 2018 The common marmoset (Callithrix jacchus) has garnered recent attention as a potentially powerful preclinical model and complement to other canonical mammalian models of human brain diseases (e.g., rodents and Old World non-human primates). With a granular frontal cortex and the advent of transgenic modifications, marmosets are well positioned to serve as neuropsychiatric models of prefrontal cortex dysfunction. A critical step in the development of marmosets for such models is to characterize functional network topologies of frontal cortex in healthy, normally functioning marmosets. Here, we sought to characterize the intrinsic functional connectivity of anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) in marmosets using resting state functional magnetic resonance imaging (RS-fMRI). Seven lightly anesthetized marmosets were imaged at ultra-high field (9.4 T) and hierarchical clustering was employed to extract functional clusters of ACC from the RS-fMRI data. The data demonstrated three functionally discrete clusters within ACC. The functional connectivity between these clusters with the rest of the brain was also found to be distinct, supporting the hypothesis that ACC subregions serve different circuits and their concomitant functions. In a separate seed-based analysis, we also sought to delineate finer-grained patterns of ACC connectivity between marmoset primary motor area 4ab and putative eye movement areas (8aD and 8aV). This analysis demonstrated distinct patterns of ACC functional connectivity between motor and eye movement regions that overlapped well with what has been shown in humans and macaques. Overall, these results demonstrate that marmosets have a network topology of ACC that resembles that of Old World primates, giving further credence to the use of marmosets for preclinical studies of intractable human brain diseases.