Regional Specialization in Pyramidal Cell Structure in the Visual Cortex of the Galago: An Intracellular Injection Study of Striate and Extrastriate Areas with Comparative Notes on New World and Old World MonkeysElston G.N.a · Elston A.a · Kaas J.H.b · Casagrande V.c
aVision, Touch and Hearing Research Centre, School of Biomedical Sciences, The University of Queensland, Queensland, Australia; Departments of bPsychology and cCell and Developmental Biology, Vanderbilt University, Nashville, Tenn., USA
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Article / Publication Details
Recent studies have revealed marked differences in the basal dendritic structure of layer III pyramidal cells in the cerebral cortex of adult simian primates. In particular, there is a consistent trend for pyramidal cells of increasing complexity with anterior progression through occipitotemporal cortical visual areas. These differences in pyramidal cell structure, and their systematic nature, are believed to be important for specialized aspects of visual processing within, and between, cortical areas. However, it remains unknown whether this regional specialization in the pyramidal cell phenotype is unique to simians, is unique to primates in general or is widespread amongst mammalian species. In the present study we investigated pyramidal cell structure in the prosimian galago (Otolemur garnetti). We found, as in simians, that the basal dendritic arbors of pyramidal cells differed between cortical areas. More specifically, pyramidal cells became progressively more spinous through the primary (V1), second (V2), dorsolateral (DL) and inferotemporal (IT) visual areas. Moreover, pyramidal neurons in V1 of the galago are remarkably similar to those in other primate species, in spite of large differences in the sizes of this area. In contrast, pyramidal cells in inferotemporal cortex are quite variable among primate species. These data suggest that regional specialization in pyramidal cell phenotype was a likely feature of cortex in a common ancestor of simian and prosimian primates, but the degree of specialization varies between species.
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