PYRAMIDAL CELL

Pyramidal Cells: A Comprehensive Overview

Pyramidal cells are a type of neuron found in the brain’s cortex. They are the most abundant neurons in the cortex, responsible for the majority of cortical output. Pyramidal cells are involved in a wide variety of functions such as sensory perception, motor control, memory, and higher-order cognitive functions. This article provides an overview of the anatomical and physiological properties of pyramidal cells, as well as their role in health and disease.

Anatomy and Physiology

Pyramidal cells are so named because their shape resembles a pyramid. They have a large cell body with multiple dendrites extending from one side and an axon projecting from the opposite side. The axon of pyramidal cells is usually much longer than other neurons and is involved in sending signals to other parts of the brain. Pyramidal cells are also distinguished by the presence of apical dendrites, which are longer than the other dendrites and reach the highest point of the pyramid.

Pyramidal cells are the primary output neurons of the cortex and thus play a key role in cortical communication. They receive inputs from a variety of sources, including other neurons within the cortex, thalamic nuclei, and other brain regions. Pyramidal cells can also be divided into subtypes based on their morphology, electrophysiological properties, and connections.

Function in Health and Disease

Pyramidal cells are involved in many aspects of cognitive function, including sensory processing, motor control, memory formation, and higher-order cognitive processes. They are also believed to be involved in the development of psychiatric disorders such as schizophrenia, depression, and autism.

Pyramidal cells are also believed to play a role in neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s. In Alzheimer’s, pyramidal cells have been found to be particularly vulnerable to damage, resulting in cognitive impairment. In Parkinson’s, pyramidal cells are thought to be involved in the pathogenesis of the disease by providing a pathway for the spread of dopamine-containing neurons.

Conclusion

Pyramidal cells are a type of neuron found in the cortex that are involved in a variety of functions, including sensory perception, motor control, memory, and higher-order cognitive functions. Pyramidal cells are also believed to be involved in the development of psychiatric disorders and neurodegenerative diseases. This article has provided an overview of the anatomy and physiology of pyramidal cells, as well as their role in health and disease.

References

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Khan, A. R., & Thakor, N. V. (2004). Pyramidal neurons: A review of the computational and modeling evidence. IEEE Transactions on Biomedical Engineering, 51(12), 2041–2051.

Kobayashi, M., & Kawaguchi, Y. (2003). Role of pyramidal neurons in the regulation of corticostriatal synaptic plasticity. Neuroscience Research, 48(3), 201–213.

Luo, S., & Miller, R. (2006). Pyramidal neurons of the neocortex: From spines to cognition. Annual Review of Neuroscience, 29(1), 403–425.

Yuste, R., & Denk, W. (1995). Dendritic spines of pyramidal cells in the neocortex: An electron microscopic study. Journal of Neuroscience, 15(11), 6659–6673.

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