Title - Feature Finding
Featured Finding Figure
The human neocortex is organized into six layers that are differentiated by the size and packing density of their constituent neurons. The gene products that guide the establishment of this lamination have been studied extensively, but the gene expression gradients present across the layers of the adult human neocortex are mostly unknown. As the supragranular (layers II-III) and infragranular (layers V-VI) layers of the human prefrontal cortex differ in their connectivity and developmental time course, we hypothesized that the supragranular and infragranular layers wouldl show distinct differences in their transcriptomes. To test this prediction, we used laser capture microdissection coupled with DNA microarray transcriptome profiling. Sixty-nine genes exhibited robust and highly consistent expression differences between the supragranular and infragranular layers. For six selected markers, in addition to validating the microarray findings, in situ hybridization revealed a complex, subpopulation-specific neuronal distribution. For example, as shown in the pseudocolored figure, certain pairs of genes had highly complementary laminar patterns of mRNA expression. The markers we identified are likely to be related to the functional differences between the supragranular and infragranular layers of the human prefrontal cortex and can be used for assessing alterations in structure and function of this cortical region in human brain disorders.
Arion D, Unger T, Lewis DA, Mirnics K: Molecular markers distinguishing suprangranular and infragranular layers in the human prefrontal cortex. Eur J Neurosci 25: 1843-1854, 2007.

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David A. Lewis, M.D. | Department of Psychiatry | University of Pittsburgh
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