Saint John's College Oxford, Professor
The lowermost cell layer of the cerebral cortex that contains interstitial white matter cells in humans has great clinical relevance. These neurons are very abundant during development and express higher proportions of susceptibility genes linked to human cognitive disorders than any other cortical layer and their distribution is known to be altered in schizophrenia and autism (Hoerder-Suabedissen et al., 2013; Bakken et al., 2016; Molnár et al., 2019). In spite of these clinical links, our current knowledge on the adult layer 6b is limited. These cells are the remnants of the subplate cells that are present in large numbers and play key role in the formation of cortical circuits but a large fraction of them die during postnatal development. The adult population that remains in all mammals to form interstitial white matter cells in human or layer 6b in mouse display unique conserved gene expression and connectivity. Members of my laboratory identified intracortical and thalamic projections from a subpopulation of layer 6b cells that might regulate both cortical and thalamic arousal of cortical areas that are involved in higher cortical functions (Hoerder‐Suabedissen, et al., 2018). We study their input and output using combined anatomical, genetic and physiological approaches. Selected cortical areas, relevant for sensory perception, arousal and sleep (V1, S1, M1, prefrontal cortex) are studied using chemogenetic and optogenetic methods. Our results suggest that 6b is not just a developmental remnant cell population in the adult, but a layer that plays a key role in cortical state control, integrating and modulating information processing (Guidi et al., 2016; Horvath et al., 2022).
Molnár Z. (2019) Eur J Neurosci. 49(7):957-963.
Hoerder-Suabedissen et al., (2013) Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 110(9):3555-60.
Molnár et al., (2019) Journal of anatomy 235:432-451
Bakken et al., (2016) Nature. 535(7612):367-75.
Hoerder-Suabedissen et al., (2018) Cereb Cortex. 2018 28(5):1882-1897.
Guidi et al., (2016) SFN Abstract 634.16.
Horvath et al., (2022) Body, Brain, Behavior - Elsevier, isbn:9780128180938.