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Neuron. 2005 May 5;46(3):389-94.

The cells of cajal-retzius: still a mystery one century after.

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Institut de Recerca Biomedica de Barcelona, Parc Cientific de Barcelona, University of Barcelona, Barcelona 08028, Spain.


Cajal-Retzius (CR) cells are an enigmatic class of neurons located at the surface of the cerebral cortex, playing a major role in cortical development. In this review, we discuss several distinct features of these neurons and the mechanisms by which they regulate cortical development. Many CR cells likely have extracortical origin and undergo cell death during development. Recent genetic studies report unique patterns of gene expression in CR cells, which may help to explain the developmental processes in which they participate. Moreover, a number of studies indicate that CR cells, and their secreted gene product, reelin, are involved in neuronal migration by acting on two key partners, migrating neurons and radial glial cells. Emerging data show that these neurons are a critical part of an early and complex network of neural activity in layer I, supporting the notion that CR cells modulate cortical maturation. Given these key and complex developmental properties, it is therefore conceivable for CR cells to be implicated in the pathogenesis of a variety of neurological disorders.

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