Dendritic morphology of callosal and ipsilateral projection neurons in monkey prefrontal cortex

A. S. Soloway, M. L. Pucak, D. S. Melchitzky, D. A. Lewis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Subpopulations of cortical pyramidal neurons have been distinguished based on the projection target of their principal axons or by their dendritic morphology. In this study, we sought to test the hypothesis that pyramidal neurons in monkey prefrontal cortex that furnish callosal or ipsilateral projections have distinctive dendritic morphologies. Retrogradely-labeled, Fast Blue-containing callosal and ipsilateral neurons were intracellularly filled with Lucifer Yellow, immunoconverted, and reconstructed. Quantitative measurements of the size and complexity of the dendritic arbor, including total dendritic length, horizontal extent, number of branch points, maximum branch order, and number of segments, as well as spine density, were made. In general, callosal neurons had larger and more complex dendritic arbors for both apical and basilar dendritic trees than did ipsilateral neurons. The greatest difference was in total dendritic length; the apical and basilar trees of callosal neurons were 34 and 25% longer, respectively. In addition, spine density was also significantly greater on the apical and basilar dendrites of callosal neurons. These findings could not be explained by differences in somal size or completeness of dendritic filling between callosal and ipsilateral neurons. Our observations support the hypothesis that callosal and ipsilateral neurons differ on a number of measures of dendritic size and complexity. Furthermore, these findings imply that these two subpopulations of pyramidal cells differ in the number and perhaps types of excitatory inputs that they receive. Finally, differences in the dendritic morphology of callosal and ipsilateral neurons have implications for understanding the functional attributes of these two populations of cells, as well as for the characterization of pyramidal neurons in human disease states.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-471
Number of pages11
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 14 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Dendrite
  • Dendritic spine
  • Intracellular filling
  • Neuronal reconstruction
  • Pyramidal neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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