This article is part of the Research Topic The neocortical column


Front. Neuroanat., 05 February 2010 | doi: 10.3389/neuro.05.003.2010

A comparative perspective on minicolumns and inhibitory GABAergic interneurons in the neocortex

Department of Anthropology and School of Biomedical Sciences, Kent State University, Kent, OH, USA
Department of Anthropology, The George Washington University, Washington, DC, USA
Department of Neuroscience, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York, NY, USA
New York Consortium in Evolutionary Primatology, New York, NY, USA
Neocortical columns are functional and morphological units whose architecture may have been under selective evolutionary pressure in different mammalian lineages in response to encephalization and specializations of cognitive abilities. Inhibitory interneurons make a substantial contribution to the morphology and distribution of minicolumns within the cortex. In this context, we review differences in minicolumns and GABAergic interneurons among species and discuss possible implications for signaling among and within minicolumns. Furthermore, we discuss how abnormalities of both minicolumn disposition and inhibitory interneurons might be associated with neuropathological processes, such as Alzheimer’s disease, autism, and schizophrenia. Specifically, we explore the possibility that phylogenetic variability in calcium-binding protein-expressing interneuron subtypes is directly related to differences in minicolumn morphology among species and might contribute to neuropathological susceptibility in humans.
calcium-binding proteins, calbindin, calretinin, parvalbumin, neuropathology, evolution
Raghanti MA, Spocter MA, Butti C, Hof PR and Sherwood CC (2010). A comparative perspective on minicolumns and inhibitory GABAergic interneurons in the neocortex. Front. Neuroanat. 4:3. doi: 10.3389/neuro.05.003.2010
01 December 2009;
 Paper pending published:
15 December 2009;
07 January 2010;
 Published online:
05 February 2010.

Edited by:

Javier DeFelipe, Cajal Institute, Spain

Reviewed by:

Manuel Casanova, University of Louisville, USA
Javier DeFelipe, Cajal Institute, Spain
© 2010 Raghanti, Spocter, Butti, Hof and Sherwood. This is an open-access article subject to an exclusive license agreement between the authors and the Frontiers Research Foundation, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original authors and source are credited.
Mary Ann Raghanti, Department of Anthropology, 226 Lowry Hall, Kent State University, Kent, OH 44242, USA. e-mail:
Back to top