The organization of connectivity in neuronal networks is fundamental to understanding the activity and function of neural networks and information processing in the brain. Recent studies show that the neocortex is not only organized in columns and layers but also, within these, into synaptically connected clusters of neurons (Ko et al., 2011; Perin et al., 2011). The recently discovered common neighbor rule, according to which the probability of any two neurons being synaptically connected grows with the number of their common neighbors, is an organizing principle for this local clustering. Here we investigated the theoretical constraints for how the spatial extent of neuronal axonal and dendritic arborization, heretofore described by morphological reach, the density of neurons and the size of the network determine cluster size and numbers within neural networks constructed according to the common neighbor rule. In the formulation we developed, morphological reach, cell density, and network size are sufficient to estimate how many neurons, on average, occur in a cluster and how many clusters exist in a given network. We find that cluster sizes do not grow indefinitely as network parameters increase, but tend to characteristic limiting values.
data driven modeling; neuronal assemblies; layer 5 pyramidal cell; layer 2 pyramidal cell; clustering
The study of the links and interactions between development and motor learning has noticeable implications for the understanding and management of neurodevelopmental disorders. This is particularly relevant for the cerebellum which is critical for sensorimotor learning. The olivocerebellar pathway is a key pathway contributing to learning of motor skills. Its developmental maturation and remodeling are being unraveled. Advances in genetics have led to major improvements in our appraisal of the genes involved in cerebellar development, especially studies in mutant mice. Cerebellar neurogenesis is compartmentalized in relationship with neurotransmitter fate. The Engrailed-2 gene is a major actor of the specification of cerebellar cell types and late embryogenic morphogenesis. Math1, expressed by the rhombic lip, is required for the genesis of glutamatergic neurons. Mutants deficient for the transcription factor Ptf1a display a lack of Purkinje cells and gabaergic interneurons. Rora gene contributes to the developmental signaling between granule cells and Purkinje neurons. The expression profile of sonic hedgehog in postnatal stages determines the final size/shape of the cerebellum. Genes affecting the development impact upon the physiological properties of the cerebellar circuits. For instance, receptors are developmentally regulated and their action interferes directly with developmental processes. Another field of research which is expanding relates to very preterm neonates. They are at risk for cerebellar lesions, which may themselves impair the developmental events. Very preterm neonates often show sensori-motor deficits, highlighting another major link between impaired developments and learning deficiencies. Pathways playing a critical role in cerebellar development are likely to become therapeutical targets for several neurodevelopmental disorders.
cerebellum; learning; developmental; inferior olive; Purkinje neurons; genes; transcription factors
Much is known about the computation in individual neurons in the cortical column. Also, the selective connectivity between many cortical neuron types has been studied in great detail. However, due to the complexity of this microcircuitry its functional role within the cortical column remains a mystery. Some of the wiring behavior between neurons can be interpreted directly from their particular dendritic and axonal shapes. Here, I describe the dendritic density field (DDF) as one key element that remains to be better understood. I sketch an approach to relate DDFs in general to their underlying potential connectivity schemes. As an example, I show how the characteristic shape of a cortical pyramidal cell appears as a direct consequence of connecting inputs arranged in two separate parallel layers.
modeling; dendrite; axon; pyramidal cell; Ramón y Cajal
Larger mammalian cerebral cortices tend to have increasingly folded surfaces, often considered to result from the lateral expansion of the gray matter (GM), which, in a volume constrained by the cranium, causes mechanical compression that is relieved by inward folding of the white matter (WM), or to result from differential expansion of cortical layers. Across species, thinner cortices, presumably more pliable, would offer less resistance and hence become more folded than thicker cortices of a same size. However, such models do not acknowledge evidence in favor of a tension-based pull onto the GM from the inside, holding it in place even when the constraint imposed by the cranium is removed. Here we propose a testable, quantitative model of cortical folding driven by tension along the length of axons in the WM that assumes that connections through the WM are formed early in development, at the same time as the GM becomes folded, and considers that axonal connections through the WM generate tension that leads to inward folding of the WM surface, which pulls the GM surface inward. As an important necessary simplifying hypothesis, we assume that axons leaving or entering the WM do so approximately perpendicularly to the WM–GM interface. Cortical folding is thus driven by WM connectivity, and is a function of the fraction of cortical neurons connected through the WM, the average length, and the average cross-sectional area of the axons in the WM. Our model predicts that the different scaling of cortical folding across mammalian orders corresponds to different combinations of scaling of connectivity, axonal cross-sectional area, and tension along WM axons, instead of being a simple function of the number of GM neurons. Our model also explains variations in average cortical thickness as a result of the factors that lead to cortical folding, rather than as a determinant of folding; predicts that for a same tension, folding increases with connectivity through the WM and increased axonal cross-section; and that, for a same number of neurons, higher connectivity through the WM leads to a higher degree of folding as well as an on average thinner GM across species.
allometry; brain size; evolution; white matter; cortical folding; connectivity; axon caliber; cortical thickness
Detailed examination of the midbrain Edinger–Westphal (EW) nucleus revealed the existence of two distinct nuclei. One population of EW preganglionic (EWpg) neurons was found to control oculomotor functions, and a separate population of EW centrally projecting (EWcp) neurons was found to contain stress- and feeding-related neuropeptides. Although it has been shown that EWcp neurons are highly responsive to drugs of abuse and behavioral stress, a genetic characterization of the EWcp was needed. To identify genetic differences in the EWcp of inbred mouse strains that differ in behaviors relevant to EWcp function, we used publicly available tools from the Allen Brain Atlas to identify 68 transcripts that were selectively expressed in the EWcp, and examined their expression within tissue punch microdissection samples containing the EWcp of adult male C57BL/6J (B6) and DBA/2J (D2) mice. Using 96-well quantitative real-time PCR (qPCR) arrays that included the EWcp-specific genes, several other genes of interest, and five housekeeping genes, we identified strain differences in expression of 11 EWcp-specific genes (BC023892, Btg3, Bves, Cart, Cck, Ghsr, Neto1, Postn, Ptprn, Rcn1, and Ucn), two immediate early genes (Egr1 and Fos), and one dopamine-related gene (Drd5). All significant expression differences were greater in B6 vs. D2 mice, and several of these were verified either at the protein level using immunohistochemistry (IHC) or in silico using microarray data sets from whole brain and other brain areas. These results demonstrate a significant advance in our understanding of the EWcp on three levels. First, we generated a list of EWcp-specific genes (most of which had not yet been reported within the EWcp in the literature) that will be informative for future studies of EWcp function. Second, due to similarity in results from qPCR and IHC, we revealed that strain differences in basal EWcp neuropeptide content are accounted for by differential transcription and number of peptidergic neurons, rather than by differential rates of peptide release. And third, our identification of differentially expressed EWcp-specific genes between B6 and D2 mice may hold powerful insight into the neurogenetic contributions of the EWcp to stress- and addiction-related behaviors.
Edinger–Westphal; midbrain; oculomotor; neuropeptide; inducible transcription factor; immediate early gene; alcohol; urocortin
All cerebellar neurons derive from progenitors that proliferate in two germinal neuroepithelia: the ventricular zone (VZ) generates GABAergic neurons, whereas the rhombic lip is the origin of glutamatergic types. Among VZ-derivatives, GABAergic projection neurons, and interneurons are generated according to distinct strategies. Projection neurons (Purkinje cells and nucleo-olivary neurons) are produced at the onset of cerebellar neurogenesis by discrete progenitor pools located in distinct VZ microdomains. These cells are specified within the VZ and acquire mature phenotypes according to cell-autonomous developmental programs. On the other hand, the different categories of inhibitory interneurons derive from a single population of Pax-2-positive precursors that delaminate into the prospective white matter (PWM), where they continue to divide up to postnatal development. Heterotopic/heterochronic transplantation experiments indicate that interneuron progenitors maintain full developmental potentialities up to the end of cerebellar development and acquire mature phenotypes under the influence of environmental cues present in the PWM. Furthermore, the final fate choice occurs in postmitotic cells, rather than dividing progenitors. Extracerebellar cells grafted to the prospective cerebellar white matter are not responsive to local neurogenic cues and fail to adopt clear cerebellar identities. Conversely, cerebellar cells grafted to extracerebellar regions retain typical phenotypes of cerebellar GABAergic interneurons, but acquire type-specific traits under the influence of local cues. These findings indicate that interneuron progenitors are multipotent and sensitive to spatio-temporally patterned environmental signals that regulate the genesis of different categories of interneurons, in precise quantities and at defined times and places.
GABAergic interneuron; Pax-2; fate specification; heterotopic–heterochronic transplantation; Purkinje cell; ventricular zone; prospective white matter; Ascl-1
Malformations of the midbrain (MB) and hindbrain (HB) have become topics of considerable interest in the neurology and neuroscience literature in recent years. The combined advances of imaging and molecular biology have improved analyses of structures in these areas of the central nervous system, while advances in genetics have made it clear that malformations of these structures are often associated with dysfunction or malformation of other organ systems. This review focuses upon the importance of communication between clinical researchers and basic scientists in the advancement of knowledge of this group of disorders. Disorders of anteroposterior (AP) patterning, cerebellar hypoplasias, disorders associated with defects of the pial limiting membrane (cobblestone cortex), disorders of the Reelin pathway, and disorders of the primary cilium/basal body organelle (molar tooth malformations) are the main focus of the review.
midbrain; hindbrain; cerebellum; malformations
The presence of two antagonistic groups of deep cerebellar nuclei neurons has been reported as necessary for a proper dynamic control of learned motor responses. Most models of cerebellar function seem to ignore the biomechanical need for a double activation–deactivation system controlling eyelid kinematics, since most of them accept that, for closing the eyelid, only the activation of the orbicularis oculi (OO) muscle (via the red nucleus to the facial motor nucleus) is necessary, without a simultaneous deactivation of levator palpebrae motoneurons (via unknown pathways projecting to the perioculomotor area). We have analyzed the kinetic neural commands of two antagonistic types of cerebellar posterior interpositus neuron (IPn) (types A and B), the electromyographic (EMG) activity of the OO muscle, and eyelid kinematic variables in alert behaving cats during classical eyeblink conditioning, using a delay paradigm. We addressed the hypothesis that the interpositus nucleus can be considered an agonist–antagonist system controlling eyelid kinematics during motor learning. To carry out a comparative study of the kinetic–kinematic relationships, we applied timing and dispersion pattern analyses. We concluded that, in accordance with a dominant role of cerebellar circuits for the facilitation of flexor responses, type A neurons fire during active eyelid downward displacements—i.e., during the active contraction of the OO muscle. In contrast, type B neurons present a high tonic rate when the eyelids are wide open, and stop firing during any active downward displacement of the upper eyelid. From a functional point of view, it could be suggested that type B neurons play a facilitative role for the antagonistic action of the levator palpebrae muscle. From an anatomical point of view, the possibility that cerebellar nuclear type B neurons project to the perioculomotor area—i.e., more or less directly onto levator palpebrae motoneurons—is highly appealing.
classical eyeblink conditioning; cerebellar interpositus neurons; kinetic neural commands; eyelid kinematics; motor learning; agonist–antagonist system; timing; dispersion patterns
The patterning of the embryonic cerebellum is vital to establish the elaborate zone and stripe architecture of the adult. This review considers early stages in cerebellar Purkinje cell patterning, from the organization of the ventricular zone to the development of Purkinje cell clusters—the precursors of the adult stripes.
Purkinje cell; ventricular zone; zebrin; EBF2; neurogenin; stripe
Previous research has suggested that the three physiologically defined relay cell-types in mammalian lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN)—called parvocellular (P), magnocellular (M), and koniocellular (K) cells in primates and X, Y, and W cells in other mammals—each express a unique combination of cell-type marker proteins. However, some of the relationships among physiological classification and protein expression found in primates, prosimians, and tree shrews do not apply to carnivores and murid rodents. It remains unknown whether these are exceptions to a common rule for all mammals, or whether these relationships vary over a wide range of species. To address this question, we examined protein expression in the gray squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis), a highly visual rodent. Unlike many rodents, squirrel LGN is well laminated, and the organization of X-like, Y-like, and W-like cells relative to the LGN layers has been characterized physiologically. We labeled tissue sections through visual thalamus with antibodies to calbindin and parvalbumin, the antibody Cat-301, and the lectin WFA. Calbindin expression was found in W-like cells in LGN layer 3, just adjacent to the optic tract. These results suggest that calbindin is a common marker for the konicellular pathway in mammals. However, while parvalbumin expression characterizes P and M cells in primates and X and Y cells in tree shrews, here it identifies only about half of the X-like cells in LGN layers 1 and 2. Putative Y/M cell markers did not differentiate relay cells in this animal. Together, these results suggest that protein expression patterns among LGN relay cell classes are variable across mammals.
retrograde tracer; immunohistochemistry; cell classification; calbindin; parvalbumin; lateral geniculate nucleus; gray squirrel
Between the first and the second postnatal week, the development of rodent Purkinje cells is characterized by several profound transitions. Purkinje cells acquire their typical dendritic “espalier” tree morphology and form distal spines. During the first postnatal week, they are multi-innervated by climbing fibers and numerous collateral branches sprout from their axons, whereas from the second postnatal week, the regression of climbing fiber multi-innervation begins, and Purkinje cells become innervated by parallel fibers and inhibitory molecular layer interneurons. Furthermore, their periods of developmental cell death and ability to regenerate their axon stop and their axons become myelinated. Thus a Purkinje cell during the first postnatal week looks and functions differently from a Purkinje cell during the second postnatal week. These fundamental changes occur in parallel with a peak of circulating thyroid hormone in the mouse. All these features suggest to some extent an interesting analogy with amphibian metamorphosis.
Purkinje cell; development
The superior colliculus (SC) is responsible for sensorimotor transformations required to direct gaze toward or away from unexpected, biologically salient events. Significant changes in the external world are signaled to SC through primary multisensory afferents, spatially organized according to a retinotopic topography. For animals, where an unexpected event could indicate the presence of either predator or prey, early decisions to approach or avoid are particularly important. Rodents’ ecology dictates predators are most often detected initially as movements in upper visual field (mapped in medial SC), while appetitive stimuli are normally found in lower visual field (mapped in lateral SC). Our purpose was to exploit this functional segregation to reveal neural sites that can bias or modulate initial approach or avoidance responses. Small injections of Fluoro-Gold were made into medial or lateral sub-regions of intermediate and deep layers of SC (SCm/SCl). A remarkable segregation of input to these two functionally defined areas was found. (i) There were structures that projected only to SCm (e.g., specific cortical areas, lateral geniculate and suprageniculate thalamic nuclei, ventromedial and premammillary hypothalamic nuclei, and several brainstem areas) or SCl (e.g., primary somatosensory cortex representing upper body parts and vibrissae and parvicellular reticular nucleus in the brainstem). (ii) Other structures projected to both SCm and SCl but from topographically segregated populations of neurons (e.g., zona incerta and substantia nigra pars reticulata). (iii) There were a few brainstem areas in which retrogradely labeled neurons were spatially overlapping (e.g., pedunculopontine nucleus and locus coeruleus). These results indicate significantly more structures across the rat neuraxis are in a position to modulate defense responses evoked from SCm, and that neural mechanisms modulating SC-mediated defense or appetitive behavior are almost entirely segregated.
superior colliculus; segregated anatomical inputs; approach; defense
The prevailing academic opinion holds that the subthalamic nucleus (STN) consists of three parts, each anatomically distinct and selectively associated with cognitive, emotional, or motor functioning. We independently tested this assumption by summarizing the results from 33 studies on STN subdivisions in human and nonhuman primates. The studies were conducted from 1925 to 2010 and feature three different techniques: electrical lesions, anterograde and retrograde tracers, and classical cytoarchitectonics. Our results reveal scant evidence in support of a tripartite STN. Instead, our results show that the variability across studies is surprisingly large, both in the number of subdivisions and in their anatomical localization. We conclude that the number of subdivisions in the STN remains uncertain, and that academic consensus in support of a tripartite STN is presently unwarranted.
subthalamic nucleus; subdivisions; primate
Dendrodendritic electrical signaling via gap junctions is now an accepted feature of neuronal communication in mammalian brain, whereas axodendritic and axosomatic gap junctions have rarely been described. We present ultrastructural, immunocytochemical, and dye-coupling evidence for “mixed” (electrical/chemical) synapses on both principal cells and interneurons in adult rat hippocampus. Thin-section electron microscopic images of small gap junction-like appositions were found at mossy fiber (MF) terminals on thorny excrescences of CA3 pyramidal neurons (CA3pyr), apparently forming glutamatergic mixed synapses. Lucifer Yellow injected into weakly fixed CA3pyr was detected in MF axons that contacted four injected CA3pyr, supporting gap junction-mediated coupling between those two types of principal cells. Freeze-fracture replica immunogold labeling revealed diverse sizes and morphologies of connexin-36-containing gap junctions throughout hippocampus. Of 20 immunogold-labeled gap junctions, seven were large (328–1140 connexons), three of which were consistent with electrical synapses between interneurons; but nine were at axon terminal synapses, three of which were immediately adjacent to distinctive glutamate receptor-containing postsynaptic densities, forming mixed glutamatergic synapses. Four others were adjacent to small clusters of immunogold-labeled 10-nm E-face intramembrane particles, apparently representing extrasynaptic glutamate receptor particles. Gap junctions also were on spines in stratum lucidum, stratum oriens, dentate gyrus, and hilus, on both interneurons and unidentified neurons. In addition, one putative GABAergic mixed synapse was found in thin-section images of a CA3pyr, but none were found by immunogold labeling, suggesting the rarity of GABAergic mixed synapses. Cx36-containing gap junctions throughout hippocampus suggest the possibility of reciprocal modulation of electrical and chemical signals in diverse hippocampal neurons.
CA3; dentate gyrus; interneuron; pyramidal neuron; principal cell; mossy fiber; gap junction
In the brain, metabolism of the essential branched chain amino acids (BCAAs) leucine, isoleucine, and valine, is regulated in part by protein synthesis requirements. Excess BCAAs are catabolized or excreted. The first step in BCAA catabolism is catalyzed by the branched chain aminotransferase (BCAT) isozymes, mitochondrial BCATm and cytosolic BCATc. A product of this reaction, glutamate, is the major excitatory neurotransmitter and precursor of the major inhibitory neurotransmitter γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA). The BCATs are thought to participate in a α-keto-acid nitrogen shuttle that provides nitrogen for synthesis of glutamate from α-ketoglutarate. The branched-chain α-keto acid dehydrogenase enzyme complex (BCKDC) catalyzes the second, irreversible step in BCAA metabolism, which is oxidative decarboxylation of the branched-chain α-keto acid (BCKA) products of the BCAT reaction. Maple Syrup Urine Disease (MSUD) results from genetic defects in BCKDC, which leads to accumulation of toxic levels of BCAAs and BCKAs that result in brain swelling. Immunolocalization of BCATm and BCKDC in rats revealed that BCATm is present in astrocytes in white matter and in neuropil, while BCKDC is expressed only in neurons. BCATm appears uniformly distributed in astrocyte cell bodies throughout the brain. The segregation of BCATm to astrocytes and BCKDC to neurons provides further support for the existence of a BCAA-dependent glial-neuronal nitrogen shuttle since the data show that BCKAs produced by glial BCATm must be exported to neurons. Additionally, the neuronal localization of BCKDC suggests that MSUD is a neuronal defect involving insufficient oxidation of BCKAs, with secondary effects extending beyond the neuron.
glutamate; gamma-amino butyric acid; MSUD; branched chain aminotransferase; traumatic brain injury; branched chain amino acid
Olfaction is the most relevant chemosensory sense of the rodents. General odors are primarily detected by the main olfactory system while most pheromonal signals are received by the accessory olfactory system. The first relay in the brain occurs in the olfactory bulb, which is subdivided in the main and accessory olfactory bulb (MOB/AOB). Given that the cell generation time is different between AOB and MOB, and the cell characterization of AOB remains limited, the goal of this work was first, the definition of the layering of AOB/MOB and second, the determination of cellular phenotypes in the AOB in a time window corresponding to the early postnatal development. Moreover, since reelin (Reln) deficiency has been related to olfactory learning deficits, we analyzed reeler mice. First, we compared the layering between AOB and MOB at early embryonic stages. Then, cell phenotypes were established using specific neuronal and glial markers as well as the Reln adaptor protein Dab1 to analyse differences in both genetic backgrounds. There was no apparent difference in the cell phenotypes among AOB and MOB or between wild type (wt) and reeler animals. However, a disruption in the granular cell layer of reeler with respect to wt mice was observed. In conclusion, the AOB in Reln-deficient mice showed similar neuronal and glial cell types being only affected the organization of granular neurons.
main olfactory bulb; reelin; granular cells layering; postnatal development; cell characterization
Parallel to the olfactory system, most mammals possess an accessory olfactory or vomeronasal system. The olfactory and vomeronasal epithelia project to the main and accessory olfactory bulbs, which in turn project to adjacent areas of the telencephalon, respectively. New data indicate that projections arising from the main and accessory olfactory bulbs partially converge in the rostral telencephalon and are non-overlapping at caudal telencephalic levels. Therefore, the basal telencephalon should be reclassified in olfactory, vomeronasal, and mixed areas. On the other hand, it has been demonstrated that virtually all olfactory- and vomeronasal-recipient structures send reciprocal projections to the main and accessory olfactory bulbs, respectively. Further, non-chemosensory recipient structures also projects centrifugally to the olfactory bulbs. These feed-back projections appear to be essential modulating processing of chemosensory information. The present work aims at characterizing centrifugal projections to the main and accessory olfactory bulbs arising from olfactory, vomeronasal, mixed, and non-chemosensory recipient telencephalic areas. This issue has been addressed by using tracer injections in the rat and mouse brain. Tracer injections were delivered into the main and accessory olfactory bulbs as well as in olfactory, vomeronasal, mixed, and non-chemosensory recipient telencephalic structures. The results confirm that olfactory- and vomeronasal-recipient structures project to the main and accessory olfactory bulbs, respectively. Interestingly, olfactory (e.g., piriform cortex), vomeronasal (e.g., posteromedial cortical amygdala), mixed (e.g., the anterior medial amygdaloid nucleus), and non-chemosensory-recipient (e.g., the nucleus of the diagonal band) structures project to the main and to the accessory olfactory bulbs thus providing the possibility of simultaneous modulation and interaction of both systems at different stages of chemosensory processing.
chemical senses; olfactory system; tract-tracing; vomeronasal system
Until recently it was widely believed that the ability of female mammals (with the likely exception of women) to identify and seek out a male breeding partner relied on the detection of non-volatile male pheromones by the female's vomeronasal organ (VNO) and their subsequent processing by a neural circuit that includes the accessory olfactory bulb (AOB), vomeronasal amygdala, and hypothalamus. Emperical data are reviewed in this paper that demonstrate the detection of volatile pheromones by the main olfactory epithelium (MOE) of female mice which, in turn, leads to the activation of a population of glomeruli and abutting mitral cells in the main olfactory bulb (MOB). Anatomical results along with functional neuroanatomical data demonstrate that some of these MOB mitral cells project to the vomeronasal amygdala. These particular MOB mitral cells were selectively activated (i.e., expressed Fos protein) by exposure to male as opposed to female urinary volatiles. A similar selectivity to opposite sex urinary volatiles was also seen in mitral cells of the AOB of female mice. Behavioral data from female mouse, ferret, and human are reviewed that implicate the main olfactory system, in some cases interacting with the accessory olfactory system, in mate recognition.
mouse; ferret; human; vomeronasal organ; hypothalamus
The claustrum and the insula are closely juxtaposed in the brain of the prosimian primate, the gray mouse lemur (Microcebus murinus). Whether the claustrum has closer affinities with the cortex or the striatum has been debated for many decades. Our observation of histological sections from primate brains and genomic data in the mouse suggest former. Given this, the present study compares the connections of the two structures in Microcebus using high angular resolution diffusion imaging (HARDI, with 72 directions), with a very small voxel size (90 micra), and probabilistic fiber tractography. High angular and spatial resolution diffusion imaging is non-destructive, requires no surgical interventions, and the connection of each and every voxel can be mapped, whereas in conventional tract tracer studies only a few specific injection sites can be assayed. Our data indicate that despite the high genetic and spatial affinities between the two structures, their connectivity patterns are very different. The claustrum connects with many cortical areas and the olfactory bulb; its strongest probabilistic connections are with the entorhinal cortex, suggesting that the claustrum may have a role in spatial memory and navigation. By contrast, the insula connects with many subcortical areas, including the brainstem and thalamic structures involved in taste and visceral feelings. Overall, the connections of the Microcebus claustrum and insula are similar to those of the rodents, cat, macaque, and human, validating our results. The insula in the Microcebus connects with the dorsolateral frontal cortex in contrast to the mouse insula, which has stronger connections with the ventromedial frontal lobe, yet this is consistent with the dorsolateral expansion of the frontal cortex in primates. In addition to revealing the connectivity patterns of the Microcebus brain, our study demonstrates that HARDI, at high resolutions, can be a valuable tool for mapping fiber pathways for multiple sites in fixed brains in rare and difficult-to-obtain species.
Microcebus murinus; gray mouse lemur; claustrum; insula; HARDI; probabilistic fiber tractography
This study describes the microscopic organization of a wedge-shaped area at the intersection of the main (MOB) and accessory olfactory bulbs (AOBs), or olfactory limbus (OL), and an additional component of the anterior olfactory nucleus or alpha AON that lies underneath of the AOB. The OL consists of a modified bulbar cortex bounded anteriorly by the MOB and posteriorly by the AOB. In Nissl-stained specimens the OL differs from the MOB by a progressive, antero-posterior decrease in thickness or absence of the external plexiform, mitral/tufted cell, and granule cell layers. On cytoarchitectual grounds the OL is divided from rostral to caudal into three distinct components: a stripe of glomerular-free cortex or preolfactory area (PA), a second or necklace glomerular area, and a wedge-shaped or interstitial area (INA) crowned by the so-called modified glomeruli that appear to belong to the anterior AOB. The strategic location and interactions with the main and AOBs, together with the previously noted functional and connectional evidence, suggest that the OL may be related to both sensory modalities. The alpha component of the anterior olfactory nucleus, a slender cellular cluster (i.e., 650 × 150 μm) paralleling the base of the AOB, contains two neuron types: a pyramidal-like neuron and an interneuron. Dendrites of pyramidal-like cells (P-L) organize into a single bundle that ascends avoiding the AOB to resolve in a trigone bounded by the edge of the OL, the AOB and the dorsal part of the anterior olfactory nucleus. Utrastructurally, the neuropil of the alpha component contains three types of synaptic terminals; one of them immunoreactive to the enzyme glutamate decarboxylase, isoform 67.
olfactory limbus; interstitial neurons; anterior olfactory nucleus; cytology
In rodents, sexual behavior depends on the adequate detection of sexually relevant stimuli. The olfactory bulb (OB) is a region of the adult mammalian brain undergoing constant cell renewal by continuous integration of new granular and periglomerular neurons in the accessory (AOB) and main (MOB) olfactory bulbs. The proliferation, migration, survival, maturation, and integration of these new cells to the OB depend on the stimulus that the subjects received. We have previously shown that 15 days after females control (paced) the sexual interaction an increase in the number of cells is observed in the AOB. No changes are observed in the number of cells when females are not allowed to control the sexual interaction. In the present study we investigated if in male rats sexual behavior increases the number of new cells in the OB. Male rats were divided in five groups: (1) males that did not receive any sexual stimulation, (2) males that were exposed to female odors, (3) males that mated for 1 h and could not pace their sexual interaction, (4) males that paced their sexual interaction and ejaculated one time and (5) males that paced their sexual interaction and ejaculated three times. All males received three injections of the DNA synthesis marker bromodeoxyuridine at 1h intervals, starting 1 h before the beginning of the behavioral test. Fifteen days later, males were sacrificed and the brains were processed to identify new cells and to evaluate if they differentiated into neurons. The number of newborn cells increased in the granular cell layer (GrCL; also known as the internal cell layer) of the AOB in males that ejaculated one or three times controlling (paced) the rate of the sexual interaction. Some of these new cells were identified as neurons. In contrast, no significant differences were found in the mitral cell layer (also known as the external cell layer) and glomerular cell layer (GlCL) of the AOB. In addition, no significant differences were found between groups in the MOB in any of the layers analyzed. Our results indicate that sexual behavior in male rats increases neurogenesis in the GrCL of the AOB when they control the rate of the sexual interaction.
sexual behavior; neurogenesis; accessory olfactory bulb and main olfactory bulb