Modern imaging methods enabled systematic studies of fetal behaviour as well as a continuation of that behaviour in prematurely born infants (for a review, see 1-4). The following question represents a great challenge for human developmental neurobiologist: what is the neurobiological basis of various behavioural patterns observed in human fetuses and preterm infants?2 First of all, it is essential to determine whether there is an early spontaneous (nonsensory- driven) activity and to what extent the cerebrum and the cerebral cortex may be involved. In addition, it is necessary to describe for each successive phase, the developmental status of neuronal circuitry and synaptic organization.
In this review, we present evidence on the development of cortical connections during different phases of fetal development and evaluate a possible functional significance of cerebral involvement.
The emergence of fetal behaviour. I. Qualitative aspects. Early Hum Dev 1982;7: 301-22.
Ontogenesis of goaldirected behavior: anatomo-functional considerations. Int J Psychophysiol 1995;19:85-102.
Structural and functional early human development assessed by three-dimensional and fourdimensional sonography. Fertility and Sterility 2005;84(5): 1285-99.
Behavioral pattern continuity from prenatal to postnatal life—a study by four-dimensional (4D) ultrasonography. J Perinat Med 2004;32(4):346-53.
Functional synaptic circuits in the subplate during fetal and early postnatal development of cat visual cortex. J Neurosci 1990;10:2601-13.
Changing patterns of synaptic input to subplate and cortical plate during development of visual cortex. J Neurophysiol 1991;66:2059-71.
Brain waves and brain wiring: the role of endogenous and sensory-driven neural activity in development. Pediatr Res 1999;45:447-58.
Rapid developmental switch in the mechanisms driving early cortical columnar networks. Nature 2006;439:79-83.
Brain Res 1973;50:403-07.
The first neurons of the human cerebral cortex. Nat Neurosci 2006;9(7):880-86.
J Neurosci 2004;24:1719-25.
Functional synaptic projections onto subplate neurons in neonatal rat somatosensory cortex. J Neurosci 2002;22:7165-76.
Spontaneous correlated activity in developing neural circuits. Neuron 1999;22:653-56.
Developmental history of the transient subplate zone in the visual and somatosensory cortex of the macaque monkey and human brain. J Comp Neurol 1990;297:441-70.
Laminar organization of the human fetal cerebrum revealed by histochemical markers and magnetic resonance imaging. Cereb Cortex 2002;12:536-44.
Early laminar organization of the human cerebrum demonstrated with diffusion tensor imaging in extremely premature infants. Neuroimage 2004;22:1134-40.
Structural, immunocytochemical, and MR imaging properties of periventricular crossroads of growing cortical pathways in preterm infants. Am J Neuroradiol 2005;26:2671-84.
In vivo MR imaging of transient subplate zone in the human fetal telencephalon. Society for Neuroscience Meeting (Atlanta) 2006;Abstracts No. 96.10.
Correlation between the sequential ingrowth of afferents and transient patterns of cortical lamination in preterm infants. Anat Rec 2002;267:1-6.
The development of nociceptive circuits. Nat Rev Neurosci 2005;6(7):507-20.
The development of cerebral connections during the first 20-46 weeks’ gestation. Seminars in Fetal and Neonatal Medicine 2006;xx:1-8.
The subplate, a transient neocortical structure: its role in the development of connections between thalamus and cortex. Annu Rev Neurosci 1994;17:185-218.
Prolonged coexistence of transient and permanent circuitry elements in the developing cerebral cortex of fetuses and preterm infants. Dev Med Child Neurol 2006;48:388-93.
Ontogenesis of brain bioelectrical activity and sleep organization in neonates and infants. In Falkner F, Tanner JM (Eds): Human Growth Vol. 3: Neurobiology and Nutrition. London: Bailliere Tindall, pp. 1979;157-82.
Slow endogenous activity transients and developmental expression of K+Cl-cotransporter 2 in the immature human cortex. Eur J Neurosci 2005;22:2799-27804.
Develoment of neonatal EEG: from phenomenology to physiology. Semin Fetal Neonatal Med 2006;11:6.
Encephalopathy of prematurity includes neuronal abnormalities. Pediatrics 2005;116:221-25.
Perinatal subplate neuron injury: implications for cortical develoment and plasticity. Brain Pathol 2005;15:250-60.
Diffusion-weighted imaging of the brain in preterm infants with focal and diffuse white matter abnormality. Pediatrics 2003;112:1-7.
Synaptogenesis in visual cortex of normal and preterm monkeys: evidence for intrinsic regulation of synaptic overproduction. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA 1989;86:4297-301.
Development of cortical circuits: Lessons from ocular dominance columns. Nat Rev Neurosci 2002;3: 34-42.
Role of subplate neurons in functional maturation of visual cortical columns. Science 2003;301:521-25.
Subplate neurons regulate maturation of cortical inhibition and outcome of coular dominance plasticity. Neuron 2006;51:627-38.
Setting the stage for cognition: genesis of the primate cerebral cortex. In Gazzaniga MS (Ed): The Cognitive Neurosciences III. New York: MIT Press, 2004; pp.33-49.
Topography of the monoamine neuron systems in the human brain as revealed in fetuses. Acta Physiol Scand 1973;388/suppl):1-40.
Development of the catecholamine neurons in human embryos and fetuses, with special emphasis on the innervation of the cerebral cortex. J Comp Neurol 1995;351:509-35.
Prenatal development of nucleus basalis complex and related fiber systems in man: a histochemical study. Neuroscience 1986;17(4):1047-77.
Prenatal and early postnatal ontogenesis of the human motor cortex: a Golgi study. II. The basket-pyramidal system. Brain Res 1970;23(2):185-91.
Prenatal development of neurons in the human prefrontal cortex: I. A qualitative Golgi study. J Comp Neurol 1988;271:355-86.
Transient cholinesterase staining in the mediodorsal nucleus of the thalamus and its connections in the developing human and monkey brain. J Comp Neurol 1983;219:431-47.
Development of the human fetal auditory cortex: growth of afferent fibers. Acta Anat 1983;116:69-73.
Development of prestriate visual projections in the monkey and human fetal cerebrum revealed by transient cholinesterase staining. J Neurosci 1984;4:25-42.
Functional corticospinal projections are established prenatally in the human foetus permitting involvement in the development of spinal motor centres. Brain 2000;123(1):51-64.
Prenatal formation of cortical input and development of cytoarchitectonic compartments in the neostriatum of the rhesus monkey. J Neurosci 1981;1(7):721-35.
Development of visual and somatosensory evoked responses in preterm newborn infants. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1973;34:225-32.
The maturation and interrelationship of EEG patterns and auditory evoked responses in premature infants. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1974;36:367-75.
Cortical responses to speech sounds and their formants in normal infants: maturational sequence and spatiotemporal analysis. Electroencephalogr Clin Neurophysiol 1989;73:295-305.
Pain and its effects in the human neonate and fetus. N Engl J Med 1987;317(21):1321-29.
Fetal pain: a systematic multidisciplinary review of the evidence. JAMA 2005;294(8):947-54.
Development of cytoarchitectonic compartments in the putamen of the human fetal brain. Verh Anat Ges 1984;78:301-02.
Development and plasticity of the corticospinal system in man. Neural Plast 2003;10:93-106.
Axon overproduction and elimination in the corpus callosum of the developing rhesus monkey. J Neurosci 1990;10(7):2156-75.
Exuberance in the development of cortical networks. Nat Rev Neurosci 2005;6:955-65.
Vergleichende Lokalisationslehre der Grosshirnrinde in ihren Prinzipien dargestellt auf Grund des Zellenbaues. Leipzig: Johann Ambrosius Barth, 1909.
Development of forward and feedback connections between areas V1 and V2 of human visual cortex. Cereb Cortex 1993;3(5):476-87.
Development of connections in the human visual system during fetal mid-gestation: a DiI-tracing study. J Neuropathol Exp Neurol 2005;59(5):385-92.
Ontogeny of the human central nervous system: what is happening when? Early Human Development. 2006;82(4):257-66.
Mechanisms of postnatal neurobiological development: Implications for human development. Dev Neuropsychol 2001;19(2):147-71. von Monakow C. Gehirnpathologie. Wien: Alfred Hölder (in German),1905.
The performance of human infants on a measure of frontal cortex function, the delayed response task. Dev Psychobiol 1989;22:271-94.
Changes in synaptic density in motor cortex of rhesus monkey during foetal and postnatal life. Dev Brain Res 1989;50:11-32.
Changes in synaptic density in motor cortex of rhesus-monkey during foetal and postnatal life. Dev Brain Res 1993;50:11-32.
Regional differences in synaptogenesis in human cerebral cortex. J Comp Neurol 1997;387(2):167-78.
Positron emission tomography study of human brain functional development. Ann Neurol 1987;22(4):487-97.
An ontogenetic study of evoked somesthetic cortical responses in the sheep. Prog Brain Res 1967;26:78-91.
Early patterns of electrical activity in the developing cerebral cortex of humans and rodents. Trends Neurosci 2006;29(7):414-18.
In vivo MR study of brain maturation in normal fetuses. Am J Neuroradiol 1995;16: 407-13.
MR features of developing periventricular white matter in preterm infants: evidence of glial cell migration. Am J Neuroradiol 1998;19:971-76.
Microstructural brain development after perinatal cerebral white matter injury assessed by diffusion tensor magnetic resonance imaging. Pediatrics 2001;107:455-60.
Radial organization of developing preterm human cerebral cortex revealed by noninvasive water diffusion anisotropy MRI. Cereb Cortex 2001;12(12):1237-43.
Diffusion tensor imaging and tractography of human brain development. Neuroimag Clin N Am 2006;16:19-43.
Magnetic resonance imaging of the fetal brain and spine: An increasingly important tool in prenatal diagnosis, Part 1. Am J Neuroradiol 2006;27:1604-11.
Differential brain growth in the infant born preterm: current knowledge and future developments from brain imaging. Semin Fetal Neonatal Med 2005;10:403-10.
White and gray matter development in human fetal, newborn and pediatric brains. Neuro Image 2006;33:27-38.
Two types of ipsilateral reorganization in congenital hemiparesis. A TMS and fMRI study. Brain 2002;125:2222-37.