Cell-type specific properties of pyramidal neurons in neocortex underlying a layout that is modifiable depending on the cortical area

Cereb Cortex. 2010 Apr;20(4):826-36. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhp152. Epub 2009 Jul 30.


To understand sensory representation in cortex, it is crucial to identify its constituent cellular components based on cell-type-specific criteria. With the identification of cell types, an important question can be addressed: to what degree does the cellular properties of neurons depend on cortical location? We tested this question using pyramidal neurons in layer 5 (L5) because of their role in providing major cortical output to subcortical targets. Recently developed transgenic mice with cell-type-specific enhanced green fluorescent protein labeling of neuronal subtypes allow reliable identification of 2 cortical cell types in L5 throughout the entire neocortex. A comprehensive investigation of anatomical and functional properties of these 2 cell types in visual and somatosensory cortex demonstrates that, with important exceptions, most properties appear to be cell-type-specific rather than dependent on cortical area. This result suggests that although cortical output neurons share a basic layout throughout the sensory cortex, fine differences in properties are tuned to the cortical area in which neurons reside.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Biophysical Phenomena / physiology*
  • Cell Count / methods
  • Cholera Toxin / metabolism
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Electric Stimulation / methods
  • Excitatory Postsynaptic Potentials / genetics
  • Galactosyltransferases / genetics
  • Galactosyltransferases / metabolism
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / metabolism
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Membrane Potentials / physiology
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Neocortex / cytology*
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Patch-Clamp Techniques / methods
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase / metabolism
  • Proto-Oncogene Protein c-ets-1 / metabolism
  • Pyramidal Cells / cytology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / cytology
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology*
  • Thalamus / cytology
  • Thalamus / physiology


  • Proto-Oncogene Protein c-ets-1
  • enhanced green fluorescent protein
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • Cholera Toxin
  • COLGALT2 protein, human
  • Galactosyltransferases
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 1
  • Phosphopyruvate Hydratase