- The scalable mammalian brain: Emergent distributions of glia and neurons
- Biological Cybernetics
- Volume | Issue number
- 98 | 5
- Pages (from-to)
- Number of pages
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Psychology Research Institute (PsyRes)
In this paper, we demonstrate that two characteristic properties of mammalian brains emerge when scaling-up modular, cortical structures. Firstly, the glia-to-neuron ratio is not constant across brains of different sizes: large mammalian brains have more glia per neuron than smaller brains. Our analyses suggest that if one assumes that glia number is proportional to wiring, a particular quantitative relationship emerges between brain size and glia-to-neuron ratio that fits the empirical data. Secondly, many authors have reported that the number of neurons underlying one mm2 of mammalian cortex is remarkably constant, across both areas and species. Here, we will show that such a constancy emerges when enlarging modular, cortical brain structures. Our analyses thus corroborate recent studies on the mammalian brain as a scalable architecture, providing a possible mechanism to explain some of the principles, constancies and rules that hold across brains of different size.
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