Pyramidal Cells of the Frontal Lobe: All the More Spinous to Think With

Guy N. Elston
2000 Journal of Neuroscience  
The basal dendritic arbors of pyramidal cells in prefrontal areas 10, 11, and 12 of the macaque monkey were revealed by intracellular injection in fixed, flat-mounted, cortical slices. The size, number of branches, and spine density of the basal dendrites were quantified and compared with those of pyramidal cells in the occipital, parietal, and temporal lobes. These analyses revealed that cells in the frontal lobe were significantly more spinous than those in the other lobes, having as many as
more » ... having as many as 16 times more spines than cells in the primary visual area (V1), four times more those in area 7a, and 45% more than those in area TE. As each dendritic spine receives at least one excitatory input, the large number of spines reported for layer III cells in prefrontal cortex suggests that they are capable of integrating a greater number of excitatory inputs than layer III pyramidal cells so far studied in the occipital, parietal, and temporal lobes. The ability to integrate a large number of excitatory inputs may be important for the sustained tonic activity characteristic of neurons in prefrontal cortex and their role in memory and cognition.
doi:10.1523/jneurosci.20-18-j0002.2000 pmid:10974092 fatcat:ywa3pqayona6zl6g5sxwc2dsou