3 years ago

The Lamprey Pallium Provides a Blueprint of the Mammalian Layered Cortex

The Lamprey Pallium Provides a Blueprint of the Mammalian Layered Cortex
Sten Grillner, Brita Robertson, Peter Wallén, Shreyas M. Suryanarayana


The basic architecture of the mammalian neocortex is remarkably similar across species. Pallial structures in the reptilian brain are considered amniote precursors of mammalian neocortex, whereas pallia of anamniotes ("lower" vertebrates) have been deemed largely insignificant with respect to homology. Here, we examine the cytoarchitecture of the lateral pallium in the lamprey, the phylogenetically oldest group of extant vertebrates. We reveal a three-layered structure with similar excitatory cell types as in the mammalian cortex and GABAergic interneurons. The ventral parts are sensory areas receiving monosynaptic thalamic input that can be activated from the optic nerve, whereas the dorsal parts contain motor areas with efferent projections to the brainstem, receiving oligosynaptic thalamic input. Both regions receive monosynaptic olfactory input. This three-layered "primordial" lamprey lateral pallium has evolved most features of the three-layered reptilian cortices and is thereby a precursor of the six-layered "neo" cortex with a long-standing evolutionary precedent (some 500 million years ago).

Publisher URL: http://www.cell.com/current-biology/fulltext/S0960-9822(17)31199-5

DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2017.09.034

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