Development of neurons in the visual cortex (area 17) of the monkey (Macaca nemestrina): a Golgi study from fetal day 127 to postnatal maturity

J Comp Neurol. 1977 Nov 15;176(2):149-88. doi: 10.1002/cne.901760203.


The morphological maturation of several varieties of neurons of cortical area 17 have been followed in Golgi Rapid preparations from Macaque monkeys ranging in age from fetal day 127 to maturity. A developmental sequence common to all varieties of neuron is described. Maturation occurs at the same rate at all cortical depths and appears to relate to the size of the neuron rather than to factors such as generation time, arrival at a final laminar position or cell type. The characteristic laminar patterns of cell type distribution and the specific axonal and dendritic arborisations seen in the adult are generated in the earliest stages of growth and do not occur as the result of elimination from a wider, less precise, distribution. During the period from birth to postnatal week 8 a marked increase in the numbers of dendritic spines is seen in all varieties of neuron including those which will be spine-free in the adult. Following this period an equally marked reduction in spine numbers occurs, initially rapid but continuing at a slower rate even nine months postnatally. Possible relationships between these postnatal dendritic spine changes and the extreme sensitivity of the system to visual input during the early postnatal weeks are discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / cytology
  • Dendrites / cytology
  • Haplorhini
  • Macaca
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Pyramidal Tracts / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*
  • Visual Cortex / embryology
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development