Developmental dynamics of piriform cortex

Cereb Cortex. 2011 Jun;21(6):1231-45. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhq199. Epub 2010 Nov 1.


The piriform cortex (PCX) is a trilaminar paleocortex that is of interest for its role in odor coding and as a model for studying general principles of cortical sensory processing. While the structure of the mature PCX has been well characterized, its development is poorly understood. Notably, the kinetics as well as the cellular and morphological basis of the postnatal events that shape the PCX remain unknown. We followed the cellular fates of early- versus late-born cells in layer II of the anterior PCX, with a focus on the molecular maturation of pyramidal cells and the kinetics of their differentiation. We showed that: 1) early-born pyramidal cells differentiate more rapidly than late-born cells and 2) the position of pyramidal cells within the thickness of layer II determines the kinetics of their molecular maturation. We then examined the postnatal development of cortical lamination and showed that the establishment of inhibitory networks in the PCX proceeds through an increase in the density of inhibitory synapses despite a decrease in the number of interneurons. Together, our results provide a more comprehensive view of the postnatal development of the anterior PCX and reveal both similarities and differences in the development of this paleocortex versus the neocortex.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Age Factors
  • Analysis of Variance
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn
  • Bromodeoxyuridine / metabolism
  • Cell Differentiation / genetics
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / embryology
  • Cerebral Cortex / growth & development*
  • Embryo, Mammalian
  • Female
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / genetics
  • Gene Expression Regulation, Developmental / physiology*
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase / genetics
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins / genetics
  • Indoles
  • Mice
  • Mice, Transgenic
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins / metabolism
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Nonlinear Dynamics*
  • Pregnancy
  • Rats


  • Indoles
  • Nerve Tissue Proteins
  • Green Fluorescent Proteins
  • DAPI
  • Glutamate Decarboxylase
  • glutamate decarboxylase 1
  • Bromodeoxyuridine