Decreased Neuron Density and Increased Glia Density in the Ventromedial Prefrontal Cortex (Brodmann Area 25) in Williams Syndrome

Brain Sci. 2018 Nov 29;8(12):209. doi: 10.3390/brainsci8120209.


Williams Syndrome (WS) is a neurodevelopmental disorder caused by a deletion of 25⁻28 genes on chromosome 7 and characterized by a specific behavioral phenotype, which includes hypersociability and anxiety. Here, we examined the density of neurons and glia in fourteen human brains in Brodmann area 25 (BA 25), in the ventromedial prefrontal cortex (vmPFC), using a postmortem sample of five adult and two infant WS brains and seven age-, sex- and hemisphere-matched typically developing control (TD) brains. We found decreased neuron density, which reached statistical significance in the supragranular layers, and increased glia density and glia to neuron ratio, which reached statistical significance in both supra- and infragranular layers. Combined with our previous findings in the amygdala, caudate nucleus and frontal pole (BA 10), these results in the vmPFC suggest that abnormalities in frontostriatal and frontoamygdala circuitry may contribute to the anxiety and atypical social behavior observed in WS.

Keywords: Williams Syndrome; glia density; neuron density; ventromedial prefrontal cortex.