Decoding neuronal diversity in the developing cerebral cortex: from single cells to functional networks

Curr Opin Neurobiol. 2018 Dec:53:146-155. doi: 10.1016/j.conb.2018.08.001. Epub 2018 Aug 27.


The neocortex is by far one of the most complex regions of the mammalian brain, characterized by an extraordinary diversity of neuronal and non-neuronal cell types, whose coordinated development and function guarantee the execution of high-order cognitive, sensory, and motor behaviours. Decoding its heterogeneity and understanding the molecular strategies upon which the cerebral cortex is built during development have been at the core of neuroscientists' work for decades. Here, we will focus on the current classification of neuronal types (both excitatory and inhibitory) of the neocortex in light of the insights provided by recent single-cell omic technologies, which have offered - with unprecedented resolution - an extended framework to interpret cortical diversity and its developmental origin. We will cover the impact of neuronal subtype identity on generating specific neuronal networks (neuron-to-neuron interaction), as well as their effect on the development of the non-neuronal populations in the cerebral cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Humans
  • Neocortex / cytology*
  • Neocortex / growth & development*
  • Nerve Net / cytology*
  • Nerve Net / growth & development*
  • Neural Stem Cells / physiology*
  • Neurons / classification*