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Development of Deep and Upper Neuronal Layers in the Domestic Cat, Sheep and Pig Neocortex

Glatzle, M., Hoops, M., Kauffold, J., Seeger, J., Fietz, S. A.
Anatomia, histologia, embryologia 2017 v.46 no.4 pp. 397-404
Primates, cats, cognition, evolution, gestation period, immunohistochemistry, neocortex, neurogenesis, neurons, pets, rodents, sensation, sheep, swine
The neocortex plays a key role in cognition, volitional motor control and sensory perception and has undergone tremendous expansion during evolution. The mature neocortex consists of radially aligned neurons that are arranged in six layers. Layers II–VI are often split into two groups: deep and upper layers, both building up the so‐called cortical plate during embryonic and foetal development. So far cortical neurogenesis, including the generation of deep and upper layers, has mostly been studied in laboratory rodents and primates. However, precise data for most companion animals are lacking. This study determined the main period of neurogenesis, specifically the timing of deep and upper layer generation, in the developing domestic cat, pig and sheep neocortex using immunohistochemistry for specific neuronal markers, that is Tbr1 and Brn2. We found that the general sequence of neural events is preserved among cat, pig, sheep and other mammalian species. However, we observed differences in the timing of the overall cortical neurogenic period and occurrence of distinct neural events when these three species were compared. Moreover, our data provide further evidence that the cortical neurogenic period and gestation length might be tightly related. Together, these data expand our current understanding of neocortex development and are important for future studies investigating neocortex development and expansion especially in companion animals.