First sub-types of pyramidal neurons in human neocortex revealed

05 October 2017

Teams at the VU Amsterdam, EPFL and Hebrew University of Jerusalem achieve next step in disentangling the neuronal circuitry in human neocortex.


We used our database of digital reconstructions from human neocortex L2/L3 pyramidal neurons to address the question whether pyramidal subtypes exist that can be subclassified based on morphology. Using a newly developed algorithm by Lida Kanari (EPFL, Blue Brain Project), we show that we can reliably distinguish profuse-tufted pyramids from slim-tufted pyramids, based on morphological complexity of the apical dendrite. These structural differences translate into functional properties, since profuse-tufted pyramids have increased activity upon current injections relative to slim-tufted pyramids. Thus, our morpho-electrotonic analysis shows 2 distinct classes of human Layer 2/Layer 3 pyramids. 

Illustration by Nicolas Antille, Blue Brain Project, EPFL.