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J Neurosci. 2001 Aug 1;21(15):5607-19.

Development of layer I neurons in the primate cerebral cortex.

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Department of Neuroscience, University of Connecticut School of Medicine, Farmington, Connecticut 06030-3401, USA.


Layer I, which plays an important role in the development of the cerebral cortex, expands in size and diversity in primates. We found that, unlike in rodents, in the macaque monkey, neurons of this layer are generated during the entire 2 month period of corticogenesis, within the middle of the 165-d-long gestation. The large, classical Cajal-Retzius cells, immunoreactive to reelin and calretinin but not to GABA, are generated first [embryonic day 38 (E38)-E50], with the peak of [(3)H]thymidine ([(3)H]TdR) labeling at E43. Ultrastructural analysis revealed that processes of these cells form a stereotyped, rectangular network oriented parallel to the pial surface. Genesis of smaller, GABAergic neurons begins slightly later (E43), reaches a peak of [(3)H]TdR labeling between E54 and E70, and continues until the completion of corticogenesis (E94). These late-generated layer I cells are imported from outside sources such as the olfactory primordium and ganglionic eminence and via a massive subpial granular layer that may also supply some GABAergic interneurons to the subjacent cortical plate. The ratio of large-to-small layer I neurons changes differentially, indicating that each class is produced and/or eliminated at a different rate and suggesting that their roles in primates are diverse.

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