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Comparative anatomy of the locus coeruleus in humans and nonhuman primates

Sharma, Yukti and Xu, Tao and Graf, Werner M. and Fobbs, Archie and Sherwood, Chet C. and Hof, Patrick R. and Allman, John M. and Manaye, Kebreten F. (2010) Comparative anatomy of the locus coeruleus in humans and nonhuman primates. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 518 (7). pp. 963-971. ISSN 0021-9967. PMCID PMC2820586. doi:10.1002/cne.22249.

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The locus coeruleus (LC) is a dense cluster of neurons that projects axons throughout the neuroaxis and is located in the rostral pontine tegmentum extending from the level of the inferior colliculus to the motor nucleus of the trigeminal nerve. LC neurons are lost in the course of several neurodegenerative disorders, including Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. In this study we used Nissl staining and tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) immunoreactivity to compare the human LC with that of closely related primate species, including great and lesser apes, and macaque monkeys. TH catalyzes the initial and rate-limiting step in catecholamine biosynthesis. The number of TH-immunoreactive (TH-ir) neurons was estimated in each species using stereologic methods. In the LC of humans the mean total number of TH-ir neurons was significantly higher compared to the other primates. Because the total number of TH-ir neurons in the LC was highly correlated with the species mean volume of the medulla oblongata, cerebellum, and neocortical gray matter, we conclude that much of the observed phylogenetic variation can be explained by anatomical scaling. Notably, the total number of LC neurons in humans was most closely predicted by the nonhuman allometric scaling relationship relative to medulla size, whereas the number of LC neurons in humans was considerably lower than predicted according to neocortex and cerebellum volume.

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Additional Information:© 2009 Wiley-Liss. Received: 6 May 2009; Revised: 11 September 2009; Accepted: 6 October 2009. Grant sponsor: the James McDonnell’s Foundation; Grant number: 22002078; Grant sponsor: NIH/NINDS; Grant numbers: U54 NS39407 (Specialized Neuroscience Research Program) and NS42867; Grant sponsor: National Science Foundation; Grant numbers: BCS-0515484, BCS-0549117, BCS-0827531, and DGE-0801634. We thank Dr. Eline Begio the South Western Medical Center, Dallas, TX, for generous provision of the human brains, Dr. J.M. Erwin for providing access to the great ape specimens, and Dr. C. Bonar, Cleveland Metroparks Zoo, for one of the gibbon brains. We also thank C. Simpson and V. Goubert for the histological preparation of the great ape brains.
Funding AgencyGrant Number
James S. McDonnell Foundation22002078
NIHU54 NS39407
NSF Graduate Research FellowshipDGE-0801634
Subject Keywords:locus coeruleus; nonhuman primates; hominids; tyrosine hydroxylase; stereology
Issue or Number:7
PubMed Central ID:PMC2820586
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20100325-142150165
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Official Citation:Sharma, Y., Xu, T., Graf, W.M., Fobbs, A., Sherwood, C.C., Hof, P.R., Allman, J.M. and Manaye, K.F. (2010), Comparative anatomy of the locus coeruleus in humans and nonhuman primates. J. Comp. Neurol., 518: 963-971. doi:10.1002/cne.22249
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:17800
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:30 Mar 2010 16:58
Last Modified:08 Nov 2021 23:38

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