The Human Brain : From Neurone to Nervous System


  1. The cerebral cortex is about 4 mm thick in humans; the neurones are divided into six layers, labelled I to VI starting at the pial surface. This tutorial deals with some of these neurones and their connections.

  2. The largest cells in the cerebral cortex are the pyramidal cells: these have a cell body, usually in Layers III and V, apical dendrites extending towards to pial surface, basal dendrites nearer the cell body, and an axon that joins the white matter and can be long enough to synapse with motoneurones in the spinal cord.

  3. The dendrites of pyramidal cells receive inputs from many areas of the cortex, basal ganglia, thalamus and other structures: these synapses are specialised and called 'spine synapses'.

  4. The different segments of a dendrite receive inputs from different areas of the brain.

  5. Other common cells in the cortex are the Basket Cells, Chandelier Cells and Bouquet cells, all of which are GABA-ergic interneurones with characteristic arrangements of their axonal terminals.

  6. Key Words: Pyramidal Cells, Spine synapses, Basket Cells, Chandelier Neurones, Double Bouquet Neurones, GABA-ergic interneurones, cortical columns