Cytology and receptor architecture of human anterior cingulate cortex

J Comp Neurol. 2008 Jun 20;508(6):906-26. doi: 10.1002/cne.21684.


Anterior cingulate cortex (ACC) is involved in emotion, mood, and autonomic regulation. Although a subgenual part of ACC (sACC) may be vulnerable in depression and area 25 is cytologically unique, there are no assessments that contrast this region with pregenual ACC (pACC). Thus, we undertook independent multimodal verifications of architectural differences among subregions and areas. Areas 24a and 24b have pregenual and subgenual components. The latter have a thin layer III. Area 24c has dorsal (pd24c) and ventral (pv24c) parts. Area pd24c has larger neurofilament-expressing neurons in layer Va, and neurons in Vb form aggregates in area pv24c. Area pd24c occupies both banks of the cingulate sulcus, with pv24c on the ventral bank. Layer III of pd24cd has many larger neurofilament-expressing neurons and a richer dendritic plexus. Area 32 has pregenual (p32) and subgenual (s32) components. Layer II in s32 is of particular note because it has a neuron-dense IIa and sparse IIb. Area 25 has anterior (25a) and posterior (25p) parts; 25p has the thinnest layer III in the cingulate gyrus. Area 25a contains significantly higher AMPA, kainate, NMDA, GABA(A), GABA(B), and alpha(1) densities than 25p. Area 33 continues around the genu and ventrally to encompass the full caudal extent of area 25. Subgenual ACC has significantly higher GABA(A), GABA(B), benzodiazepine (BZ), alpha(1), and 5-HT(1A) densities than pACC. GABA(B), BZ, and alpha(1) binding confirms the subdivision of area pd24c. In conclusion, ACC comprises two parts that are unique in terms of their cytoarchitecture and neurotransmitter receptor organization.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Autoradiography / methods
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cell Biology*
  • Female
  • Gyrus Cinguli / anatomy & histology
  • Gyrus Cinguli / metabolism*
  • Gyrus Cinguli / ultrastructure*
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Models, Neurological
  • Postmortem Changes
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / classification
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter / ultrastructure
  • Silver Staining / methods


  • Receptors, Neurotransmitter