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Regional Differences in Dendritic and Spine Complexity: A Quantitative Golgi Analysis of Human Cerebral Cortex
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by Melissa Prather, Matthew Schall, and Bob Jacobs* - Quantitative Neuromorphology, The Colorado College (Prather, Jacobs); Global Business Intelligence Solutions (Schall)
Regional variation in dendritic and spine complexity was examined by quantifying the basilar dendritic systems of supragranular pyramidal cells in 8 functionally distinct regions of human cerebral cortex. Ten cells from each region were quantified (N = 640) with a Neurolucida computer–microscope interface system (Microbrightfield, Inc.). Based on Benson’s (1994) functional hierarchy, regions were grouped as low integration (primary and unimodal cortex) and high integration (heteromodal and supramodal cortex). Low-integration regions included Brodmann’s area (BA) 3-1-2, BA 4, BA 22, and BA 44. High-integration regions included BA 6ß, BA 39, BA 10, and BA 11. The effects of Brodmann’s areas and integration level were evaluated using repeated-measures factorial designs. The results indicated that dendritic complexity in high-integration regions was significantly greater than in low-integration areas for all dependent measures. These findings further support the relationship between dendritic complexity and regional processing abilities, and help to establish a hierarchy of morphological complexity across distinct cortical regions.