Mouse auditory cortex differs from visual and somatosensory cortices in the laminar distribution of cytochrome oxidase and acetylcholinesterase

Brain Res. 2009 Feb 3:1252:130-42. doi: 10.1016/j.brainres.2008.11.037. Epub 2008 Nov 21.


Cytochrome oxidase (CYO) and acetylcholinesterase (AChE) staining density varies across the cortical layers in many sensory areas. The laminar variations likely reflect differences between the layers in levels of metabolic activity and cholinergic modulation. The question of whether these laminar variations differ between primary sensory cortices has never been systematically addressed in the same set of animals, since most studies of sensory cortex focus on a single sensory modality. Here, we compared the laminar distribution of CYO and AChE activity in the primary auditory, visual, and somatosensory cortices of the mouse, using Nissl-stained sections to define laminar boundaries. Interestingly, for both CYO and AChE, laminar patterns of enzyme activity were similar in the visual and somatosensory cortices, but differed in the auditory cortex. In the visual and somatosensory areas, staining densities for both enzymes were highest in layers III/IV or IV and in lower layer V. In the auditory cortex, CYO activity showed a reliable peak only at the layer III/IV border, while AChE distribution was relatively homogeneous across layers. These results suggest that laminar patterns of metabolic activity and cholinergic influence are similar in the mouse visual and somatosensory cortices, but differ in the auditory cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholinesterase / metabolism*
  • Age Factors
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Auditory Cortex / enzymology
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / enzymology*
  • Densitometry
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism*
  • Female
  • Male
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred CBA
  • Mothers
  • Somatosensory Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / enzymology
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / enzymology


  • Electron Transport Complex IV
  • Acetylcholinesterase