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Neuronal populations in the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala are differentially increased in humans compared with apes: A stereological study

Barger, Nicole and Stefanacci, Lisa and Schumann, Cynthia M. and Sherwood, Chet C. and Annese, Jacopo and Allman, John M. and Buckwalter, Joseph A. and Hof, Patrick R. and Semendeferi, Katerina (2012) Neuronal populations in the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala are differentially increased in humans compared with apes: A stereological study. Journal of Comparative Neurology, 520 (13). pp. 3035-3054. ISSN 0021-9967. PMCID PMC4904735. https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20120814-110116287

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Abstract

In human and nonhuman primates, the amygdala is known to play critical roles in emotional and social behavior. Anatomically, individual amygdaloid nuclei are connected with many neural systems that are either differentially expanded or conserved over the course of primate evolution. To address amygdala evolution in humans and our closest living relatives, the apes, we used design-based stereological methods to obtain neuron counts for the amygdala and each of four major amygdaloid nuclei (the lateral, basal, accessory basal, and central nuclei) in humans, all great ape species, lesser apes, and one monkey species. Our goal was to determine whether there were significant differences in the number or percent of neurons distributed to individual nuclei among species. Additionally, regression analyses were performed on independent contrast data to determine whether any individual species deviated from allometric trends. There were two major findings. In humans, the lateral nucleus contained the highest number of neurons in the amygdala, whereas in apes the basal nucleus contained the highest number of neurons. Additionally, the human lateral nucleus contained 59% more neurons than predicted by allometric regressions on nonhuman primate data. Based on the largest sample ever analyzed in a comparative study of the hominoid amygdala, our findings suggest that an emphasis on the lateral nucleus is the main characteristic of amygdala specialization over the course of human evolution.


Item Type:Article
Related URLs:
URLURL TypeDescription
http://dx.doi.org/10.1002/cne.23118DOIArticle
http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1002/cne.23118/abstractPublisherArticle
https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4904735PubMed CentralArticle
Additional Information:© 2012 Wiley Periodicals, Inc. Received December 12, 2011; Revised March 22, 2012; Accepted March 23, 2012. We thank the Busch Gardens Zoo, the Henry Doorly Zoo, the Hoogle Zoo, the Milwaukee County Zoo, the Yerkes National Primate Research Center, and the Great Ape Aging Project for ape donations, Drs. Shirley Strum and Jim Moore for helpful discussions, and Kate Teffer for processing assistance. Grant sponsor: The National Science Foundation; Grant number: BCS-0726240; Grant sponsor: The Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (Dissertation Fieldwork Grant); Grant Sponsor: the Chancellor’s Interdisciplinary Collaboratory Fellowship, University of California, San Diego; Grant sponsor: the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, The University of California, San Diego; Grant sponsor: the James S. MacDonnell Foundation; Grant number: 22002078.
Funders:
Funding AgencyGrant Number
NSFBCS-0726240
The Wenner Gren Foundation for Anthropological Research (Dissertation Fieldwork Grant)UNSPECIFIED
University of California, San Diego Chancellor's Interdisciplinary Collaboratory FellowshipUNSPECIFIED
University of California, San Diego Kavli Institute for Brain and MindUNSPECIFIED
James S. MacDonnell Foundation22002078
Subject Keywords:amygdala; comparative neuroanatomy; human evolution; lateral nucleus; ape; stereology
Issue or Number:13
PubMed Central ID:PMC4904735
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20120814-110116287
Persistent URL:https://resolver.caltech.edu/CaltechAUTHORS:20120814-110116287
Official Citation:Barger, N., Stefanacci, L., Schumann, C. M., Sherwood, C. C., Annese, J., Allman, J. M., Buckwalter, J. A., Hof, P. R. and Semendeferi, K. (2012), Neuronal populations in the basolateral nuclei of the amygdala are differentially increased in humans compared with apes: A stereological study. J. Comp. Neurol., 520: 3035–3054. doi: 10.1002/cne.23118
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:33168
Collection:CaltechAUTHORS
Deposited By: Jason Perez
Deposited On:14 Aug 2012 18:17
Last Modified:03 Oct 2019 04:07

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