Emerging Complexity of Layer I in Human Cerebral Cortex


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Abstract

In this study we examine possible origins and migratory routes of human cortical neurons, with special emphasis on the preplate and layer I. In embryonic stages, two main cell types, Cajal–Retzius cells, and cells labeled with interneuron markers (calretinin, calbindin and GABA), were present in the preplate layer. In addition, a number of preplate GABAergic cells co-expressed either Nkx2.1 or Dlx transcription factors, findings consistent with their origin in the ganglionic eminence and subsequent tangential migration to the layer I. The orientation of the leading process indicates that some of these cells descend to the cortical plate. However, the finding of radially oriented GABAergic, NKX2.1+ and DLX+ cells in the cortical ventricular zone, argues that, unlike in rodents, a significant subpopulation of these cells originates in the cortical ventricular zone. In embryonic stages, expression of Reelin in Cajal–Retzius cells as well as Reelin/DLX2+ cells in the embryonic ganglionic eminence and the olfactory region, suggest that these cells in human may have diverse origins. In later fetal stages in human (17–22 gestational weeks) layer I and the newly formed subpial granular layer, contained a population of small interneurons that originated mainly in the lateral ganglionic eminence, since the majority of these cells were double-labeled with DLX/GABA, and rarely with NKX2.1/GABA. Therefore, neurons in the human cortical layer I are heterogeneous, with more complex origin and migratory routes than in rodents. In addition to the ganglionic eminence, both the expended subventricular zone and subpial granular layer, contribute to the neuronal population of the developing layer I and underlining cortical plate.

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