Calretinin-immunoreactive neurons in the primary visual cortex of dolphin and human brains

Ilya I. Glezer, Patrick R. Hof, Peter J. Morgane

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A new class of γ-aminobutyric acid (GABA)ergic neurons immmunoreactive to the calcium-binding protein calretinin (CR) was demonstrated in primary visual cortices of the bottlenose dolphin (Tursiops truncatus) and humans (Homo sapiens). Comparative analysis revealed several differences between dolphin and human visual cortex in the laminar distribution of CR-positive perikarya, although general typology of the immunoreactive CR-positive neurons was similar in both species. Thus, in both human and dolphin primary visual cortex almost all CR-positive neurons are non-pyramidal, either fusiform or bipolar cells, oriented with their long axis along the radial axis of the cortex. Large multipolar stellate cells were also observed in layers I and VI. The CR-positive neurons in the dolphin visual cortex are concentrated almost exclusively in layer I and, to a lesser extent, in layer II. In all other layers (IIIa,b, IIIc/ V and VI) of the dolphin visual cortex CR-positive neurons were only rarely seen. In the human primary visual cortex CR-positive neurons are located mainly in layers II, III and IVa, b, c, with considerably lower densities of these cells observed in layers V and VI. CR-positive neurons in layer I of the human visual cortex are represented by Cajal-Retzius horizontal cells, whereas no such cells were seen in layer I of the dolphin neocortex. The numerical density of CR-positive neurons in the dolphin primary visual cortex is significantly lower than in the same area of cortex in humans. However, percentages of total neuronal population by layers and overall in corrtex are significantly higher in the dolphin primary visual cortex (approximately 16.5%) in comparison with that in humans (approximately 0.9%).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalBrain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - 13 Nov 1992


  • Calcium-binding protein
  • Calretinin
  • Comparative immunocytochemistry of cerebral cortex
  • Cortical laminar analysis
  • Dolphin brain
  • Human brain
  • Primate brain
  • Visual cortex
  • Whale evolutionary anatomy
  • γ-Aminobutyric acid-ergic neurons


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