Spinogenesis and Pruning in the Anterior Ventral Inferotemporal Cortex of the Macaque Monkey: An Intracellular Injection Study of Layer III Pyramidal Cells

Front Neuroanat. 2011 Jul 21;5:42. doi: 10.3389/fnana.2011.00042. eCollection 2011.


Pyramidal cells grow and mature at different rates among different cortical areas in the macaque monkey. In particular, differences across the areas have been reported in both the timing and magnitude of growth, branching, spinogenesis, and pruning in the basal dendritic trees of cells in layer III. Presently available data suggest that these different growth profiles reflect the type of functions performed by these cells in the adult brain. However, to date, studies have focused on only a relatively few cortical areas. In the present investigation we quantified the growth of the dendritic trees of layer III pyramidal cells in the anterior ventral portion of cytoarchitectonic area TE (TEav) to better comprehend developmental trends in the cerebral cortex. We quantified the growth and branching of the dendrities, and spinogenesis and pruning of spines, from post-natal day 2 (PND2) to four and a half years of age. We found that the dendritic trees increase in size from PND2 to 7 months of age and thereafter became smaller. The dendritic trees became increasingly more branched from PND2 into adulthood. There was a two-fold increase in the number of spines in the basal dendritic trees of pyramidal cells from PND2 to 3.5 months of age and then a 10% net decrease in spine number into adulthood. Thus, the growth profile of layer III pyramidal cells in the anterior ventral portion of the inferotemporal cortex differs to that in other cortical areas associated with visual processing.

Keywords: Hebb; cortex; dendrite; development; maturation; plasticity; spine.