Dendritic Morphology, Local Circuitry, and Intrinsic Electrophysiology of Principal Neurons in the Entorhinal Cortex of Macaque Monkeys

Paul S. Buckmaster, Angel Alonso, Don R. Canfield, David G Amaral

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Little is known about the neuroanatomical or electrophysiological properties of individual neurons in the primate entorhinal cortex. We have used intracellular recording and biocytin-labeling techniques in the entorhinal slice preparation from macaque monkeys to investigate the morphology and intrinsic electrophysiology of principal neurons. These neurons have previously been studied most extensively in rats. In monkeys, layer II neurons are usually stellate cells, as in rats, but they occasionally have a pyramidal shape. They tend to discharge trains, not bursts, of action potentials, and some display subthreshold membrane potential oscillations. Layer III neurons are pyramidal, and they do not appear to display membrane potential oscillations. The distribution of dendrites and of axon collaterals suggests that neurons in layers II and III are interconnected by a network of associational fibers. Layer V and VI neurons are pyramidal and tend to discharge trains of action potentials. The distribution of dendrites and axon collaterals suggests that there is an associative network of principal neurons in layers V and VI, and they also project axon collaterals toward superficial layers. Importantly, entorhinal cortical neurons in monkeys appear to exhibit significant differences from those in rats. Morphologically, neurons in monkey entorhinal layers II and III have more primary dendrites, more dendritic branches, and greater total dendritic length than in rats. Electrophysiologically, layer II neurons in monkeys exhibit less sag, and subthreshold oscillations are less robust and slower. Some monkey layer III neurons discharge bursts of action potentials that are not found in rats. The interspecies differences revealed by this study may influence information processing and pathophysiological processes in the primate entorhinal cortex.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)317-329
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 8 2004


  • Dendrites
  • Hippocampal formation
  • Limbic system
  • Primate
  • Species differences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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