Tyrosine hydroxylase-like immunoreactive (TH-IR) neurons with morphological features of interneurons were found throughout the human cerebral cortex. Quantitative estimates in 14 different cytoarchitectonic areas revealed a specific regional distribution pattern, neurons being less dense in primary cortical areas and denser in higher order associative areas and some limbic related areas. A partial relationship was noted between the density of labeled neurons and that of the known dopaminergic innervation. The role of the cortical TH-IR neurons in catecholaminergic function, however, remains unclear since the presence of other catecholaminergic synthesizing enzymes, dopamine-beta-hydroxylase and DOPA decarboxylase, could not be demonstrated at their level. Similar neurons have been observed transiently in the rodent cortex during development; their persistence and topographical extension in the human brain warrants further study on their possible functional role.
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