Generating neuronal diversity in the mammalian cerebral cortex

Annu Rev Cell Dev Biol. 2015;31:699-720. doi: 10.1146/annurev-cellbio-100814-125353. Epub 2015 Sep 11.


The neocortex is the part of the brain responsible for execution of higher-order brain functions, including cognition, sensory perception, and sophisticated motor control. During evolution, the neocortex has developed an unparalleled neuronal diversity, which still remains partly unclassified and unmapped at the functional level. Here, we broadly review the structural blueprint of the neocortex and discuss the current classification of its neuronal diversity. We then cover the principles and mechanisms that build neuronal diversity during cortical development and consider the impact of neuronal class-specific identity in shaping cortical connectivity and function.

Keywords: cortical networks; identity; interneurons; myelination profile; neocortex; projection neurons.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Biological Evolution
  • Humans
  • Mammals / physiology*
  • Neocortex / physiology*
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neurons / physiology*