Interlaminar differences in the pyramidal cell phenotype in cortical areas 7m and STP (the superior temporal polysensory area) of the macaque monkey
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Pyramidal neurones were injected with Lucifer Yellow in slices cut tangential to the surface of area 7m and the superior temporal polysensory area (STP) of the macaque monkey. Comparison of the basal dendritic arbors of supra- and infragranular pyramidal neurones (n=139) that were injected in the same putative modules in the different cortical areas revealed variation in their structure. Moreover, there were relative differences in dendritic morphology of supra- and infragranular pyramidal neurones in the two cortical areas. Sholl analyses revealed that layer III pyramidal neurones in area STP had considerably higher peak complexity (maximum number of dendritic intersections per Sholl circle) than those in layer V, whereas peak complexities were similar for supra- and infragranular pyramidal neurones in area 7m. In both cortical areas, the basal dendritic trees of layer III pyramidal neurones were characterized by a higher spine density than those in layer V. Calculations of the total number of dendritic spines in the "average" basal dendritic arbor revealed that layer V pyramidal neurones in area 7m had twice as many spines as cells in layer III (4535 and 2294, respectively). A similar calculation for neurones in area STP revealed that layer III pyramidal neurones had approximately the same number of spines as cells in layer V (3585 and 3850 spines, respectively). Relative differences in the branching patterns of, and the number of spines in, the basal dendritic arbors of supra- and infragranular pyramidal neurones in the different cortical areas may allow for integration of different numbers of inputs, and different degrees of dendritic processing. These results support the thesis that intra-areal circuitry differs in different cortical areas.
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