Cross-species analyses of the cortical GABAergic and subplate neural populations

Front Neuroanat. 2009 Oct 6;3:20. doi: 10.3389/neuro.05.020.2009. eCollection 2009.


Cortical GABAergic (gamma-aminobutyric acidergic) neurons include a recently identified subset whose projections extend over relatively long distances in adult rodents and primates. A number of these inhibitory projection neurons are located in and above the conventionally identified white matter, suggesting their persistence from, or a correspondence with, the developmental subplate. GABAergic and subplate neurons share some unique properties unlike those of the more prevalent pyramidal neurons. To better understand the GABAergic and subplate populations, we constructed a database of neural developmental events common to the three species most frequently used in experimental studies: rat, mouse, and macaque, using data from the online database as well as GABAergic and subplate developmental data from the empirical literature. We used a general linear model to test for similarities and differences, a valid approach because the sequence of most neurodevelopmental events is remarkably conserved across mammalian species. Similarities between the two rodent populations are striking, permitting us to identify developmental dates for GABAergic and subplate neural events in rats that were previously identified only in mice, as well as the timing in mouse development for events previously identified in rats. Primate comparative data are also compelling, although slight variability in statistical error measurement indicates differences in primate GABAergic and subplate events when compared to rodents. Although human extrapolations are challenging because fewer empirical data points are available, and because human data display more variability, we also produce estimates of dates for GABAergic and subplate neural events that have not yet been, or cannot be, determined empirically in humans.

Keywords: GABA; cross-species correlations; human development; layer VIb; persisting subplate neurons; rodent development; statistical analysis; white matter neurons.