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Ciba Found Symp. 1995;193:41-58; discussion 59-70.

The cell lineage of neuronal subtypes in the mammalian cerebral cortex.

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Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College London, UK.


We have studied the lineage relationships of pyramidal and nonpyramidal neurons, the principal neuronal types in the cerebral cortex, using a recombinant retrovirus that carries the gene encoding Escherichia coli beta-galactosidase as a lineage marker. The phenotype of every cell of clones of beta-galactosidase-labelled neurons generated by intraventricular injection of recombinant retrovirus in rat embryos at different stages of cortical neurogenesis was identified using light and electron microscopy as well as immunohistochemistry for known markers of neuronal subtypes. We found that clonally related neurons in adult rats showed the same morphological and neurotransmitter phenotypes, suggesting that lineages of pyramidal and nonpyramidal neurons are specified as early as E14, the time of onset of neurogenesis. However, when we followed the development of cortical cell lineages, we noted that a significant number of neuronal clones showed a mixed pyramidal/nonpyramidal cell composition during the first three weeks of life. We suggest that the change in the composition of neuronal clones between the third week of postnatal life and adulthood may either be due to changes in the phenotype of some developing neurons or, more likely, to selective cell death.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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