Morphological properties of intracellularly labeled layer I neurons in rat neocortex

Academic Article


  • The morphology of neurons in layer I of rat neocortex, including Cajal- Retzius (CR) cells, was studied by using intracellular biocytin staining in brain slices obtained from rats during the first 22 postnatal days. Within the first postnatal week, horizontal bipolar neurons or CR cells were prominent in layer I. Typically, CR cells had one main dendrite and one axon originating from opposite poles of the somata. Even though the main dendrites and axons could be quite long, complex dendritic or axonal arbors were not observed. Starting around postnatal day 6 (PN 6), CR cells were less frequently observed. From PN 10 to PN 21, nonpyramidal neurons with diverse morphologies became the main neuronal component in layer I. The somata of layer I nonpyramidal neurons were quite variable in size and shape. Dendrites were smooth or sparsely spiny, and the dendritic trees were mainly restricted to layer I, covering an area with a diameter of about 200 μm. Axon collaterals of these cells formed elaborate arbors with diameters of around 700 μm in layer I and extending, in many cases, to layer II/III and even layer IV. This extensive axonal plexus provides a rich anatomical base on which layer I neurons, functioning as local circuit elements, may interact with each other and with neurons in other layers.
  • Authors

    Published In

    Author List

  • Zhou FM; Hablitz JJ
  • Start Page

  • 198
  • End Page

  • 213
  • Volume

  • 376
  • Issue

  • 2