Cortical column/Bibliography

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A list of key readings about Cortical column.
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A brain morphometric analysis of neuroimaging data from the Vietnam Era Twin Registry, demonstrating that cortical thickness and cortical surface area contribute independently to total cortical gray matter in human adult males. This goes conform with the idea of ontogentic columns in the cerebral cortex: The number of cells within such a column would be reflected in cortical thickness, while the number of columns would be reflected in cortical surface area.
Provides a commentary on Herculano-Houzel et al. (2008) and Rockel at al. (1980), citing the former as a convincing (albeit not surprising) refutation of the latter in which the cortical architecture was assumed to be basically uniform within a brain and across mammalian species.
Directly contradicts Rockel et al. (1980) by showing that the number of neurons per unit surface area of neocortex is not constant across mammals but instead varies about three-fold among primates.
Demonstrates that neural precursor cells in ß-catenin-transgenic mice undergo more cell divisions before finally differentiating. This resulted in an increase of cortical surface area without an accompanying change in cortical thickness.
Introduces the term ontogenetic column as an alternative to the ambiguous cortical column.
A well-cited paper concluding that
  1. "the intrinsic structure of the neocortex is basically more uniform than has been thought and that differences in cytoarchitecture and function reflect differences in connections."
  2. The cerebral cortex is organized in columns which are commonly referred to (in a wide variety of contexts) as cortical columns, though ontogentic columns (Rakic 1988) would be more precise
  3. The number of neurons underneath equally sized patches of cortical surface area is approximately identical (around 147,000 per ) across mammalian species, with the exception of the primary visual cortex in primates.
Point number 3 has been refuted by a number of studies (e.g. Herculano-Houzel et al., 2008; see also references therein), as summarized by Rakic 2008.
Presents "an hypothesis of the functional organization of this cortical area. This is that the neurons which lie in narrow vertical columns, or cylinders, extending from layer II through layer VI make up an elementary unit of organization, for they are activated by stimulation of the same single class of peripheral receptors, from almost identical peripheral receptive fields, at latencies which are not significantly different for the cells of the various layers."