Author

Amy Sarma

Date of Award

January 2011

Document Type

Open Access Thesis

Degree Name

Medical Doctor (MD)

Department

Medicine

First Advisor

Charles A. Greer

Subject Area(s)

Neurosciences

Abstract

The piriform cortex (PCX) is a trilaminar paleocortex that is of interest for its role in odor coding and as a model for studying general principles of cortical sensory processing. While the structure of the mature PCX has been well characterized, its development is poorly understood. Notably, the kinetics as well as the cellular and morphological basis of the postnatal events that shape the PCX remain unknown. We followed the cellular fates of early- versus late-born cells in layer II of the anterior PCX, with a focus on the molecular maturation of pyramidal cells and the kinetics of their differentiation. We showed that: 1) early-born pyramidal cells differentiate more rapidly than late-born cells; and 2) the position of pyramidal cells within the thickness of layer II determines the kinetics of their molecular maturation. We then examined the postnatal development of cortical lamination and showed that the establishment of inhibitory networks in the PCX proceeds through an increase in the density of inhibitory synapses despite a decrease in the number of interneurons. Together, our results provide a more comprehensive view of the postnatal development of the anterior PCX and reveal both similarities and differences in the development of this paleocortex versus the neocortex.

Comments

This is an Open Access Thesis.

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