Opera Medica et Physiologica


Issue 2 | September 2019

Full-length research paper
Published ahead of print September 18, 2019; Printed September 30, 2019; OM&P 2019 Volume 5 Issue 2, pages 17-32; doi:10.20388/omp2019.002.0064
Abstract Full Text

The neocortex is a major part of the mammalian brain and a key structure for human behavior, cognition and language. During the course of brain evolution, the neocortex in many mammalian species underwent an increase in its size and complexity, which is thought to provide a basis for the increased cognitive abilities of humans. The differences in neocortex size and complexity between various mammalian species stem from developmental processes that regulate the production of neocortical neurons. Neural stem and progenitor cells with their unique cell biological characteristic are instrumental for such developmental processes. In this review we will discuss key aspects of the evolutionary expansion of the neocortex, and specifically the features present during fetal/embryonic development. We will then discuss the cell biological characteristics of neural stem and progenitor cells and mechanisms underlying the evolutionary expansion of the neocortex.