Dendritic size of pyramidal neurons differs among mouse cortical regions

Cereb Cortex. 2006 Jul;16(7):990-1001. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhj041. Epub 2005 Sep 29.


Neocortical circuits share anatomical and physiological similarities among different species and cortical areas. Because of this, a 'canonical' cortical microcircuit could form the functional unit of the neocortex and perform the same basic computation on different types of inputs. However, variations in pyramidal cell structure between different primate cortical areas exist, indicating that different cortical areas could be built out of different neuronal cell types. In the present study, we have investigated the dendritic architecture of 90 layer II/III pyramidal neurons located in different cortical regions along a rostrocaudal axis in the mouse neocortex, using, for the first time, a blind multidimensional analysis of over 150 morphological variables, rather than evaluating along single morphological parameters. These cortical regions included the secondary motor cortex (M2), the secondary somatosensory cortex (S2), and the lateral secondary visual cortex and association temporal cortex (V2L/TeA). Confirming earlier primate studies, we find that basal dendritic morphologies are characteristically different between different cortical regions. In addition, we demonstrate that these differences are not related to the physical location of the neuron and cannot be easily explained assuming rostrocaudal gradients within the cortex. Our data suggest that each cortical region is built with specific neuronal components.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure*
  • Mice
  • Nerve Net / cytology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / cytology*