Cytochrome Oxidase and Neuroanatomical Patterns

What Is the Connection?
  • Robert F. Hevner


Cytochrome oxidase (C.O.) histochemistry has proved to be an excellent method for the identification of neuroanatomical patterns. In some cases, C.O. staining has led to the discovery of completely novel patterns; the best known examples are the puffs (or blobs) in primate visual area V1, and the stripes in visual area V2. In other cases, C.O. staining has revealed modules associated with cytoarchitectural patterns that were previously known but whose modular organization was not fully appreciated, such as the periodic cell clusters in entorhinal cortex layers 2–3. In developmental neuroanatomy, C.O. histochemistry has been used to demonstrate emerging patterns (the barrelettes of the brainstem trigeminal complex) before they become visible by other methods. In addition, C.O. is a useful marker for detecting neuroanatomical changes caused by environmental manipulations, or by genetic defects in spontaneous or targeted mutant animals. Since C.O. is present in all brain cells, the sensitivity of the histochemical method for showing neuroanatomical patterns may seem paradoxical. In this chapter, I will attempt to explain the remarkable correspondence between C.O. activity and patterns in the brain by delineating the links between C.O. activity, neuronal functional activity, synaptic inputs, parallel pathways, and modular processing.


Olfactory Bulb Cytochrome Oxidase Superior Colliculus Entorhinal Cortex Tangential Section 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1998

Authors and Affiliations

  • Robert F. Hevner
    • 1
  1. 1.Nina Ireland Laboratory of Developmental NeurobiologyUniversity of California-San FranciscoSan FranciscoUSA

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