We studied developmental changes in the expression of non-phosphorylated neurofilament protein (NNF) (a marker of the structural maturation of pyramidal neurones) in the dorsolateral frontal cortex of marmoset monkeys, between embryonic day 130 and adulthood. Our focus was on cortical fields that send strong projections to extrastriate cortex, including the dorsal and ventral subdivisions of area 8A, area 46 and area 6d. For comparison, we also investigated the maturation of prefrontal area 9, which has few or no connections with visual areas. The timing of expression of NNF immunostaining in early life can be described as the result of the interaction of two developmental gradients. First, there is an anteroposterior gradient of maturation in the frontal lobe, whereby neurones in caudal areas express NNF earlier than those in rostral areas. Second, there is a laminar gradient, whereby the first NNF-immunoreactive neurones emerge in layer V, followed by those in progressively more superficial parts of layer III. Following a peak in density of NNF-immunopositive cell numbers in layer V at 2-3 months of age, there is a gradual decline towards adulthood. In contrast, the density of immunopositive cells in layer III continues to increase throughout the first postnatal year in area 6d and until late adolescence (> 1.5 years of age) in prefrontal areas. The present results support the view that the maturation of visual cognitive functions involves relatively late processes linked to structural changes in frontal cortical areas.
|Pages (from-to)||1767 - 1779|
|Number of pages||13|
|Journal||European Journal of Neuroscience|
|Publication status||Published - 2007|