Kirkcaldie, MTK, Neocortex, The Mouse Nervous System, Academic Press, C Watson, G Paxinos and L Puelles (ed), San Diego, pp. 52 - 111. ISBN 9780123694973 (2011) [Research Book Chapter]
Copyright 2012 Elsevier Inc.
Many reviews of the cerebral cortex use information derived from primates, carnivores, rodents, and other species, focusing on common traits to synthesize a general description of the mammalian cortex. The mouse cerebral cortex, bordered by the medial pallium (archicortex) on the medial side, and the lateral pallium (allocortex) laterally, is dominated by a large expanse of neocortex derived from the dorsal pallium of the telencephalon. The telencephalon originates as an outgrowth of the most rostral segments of the developing nervous system and is the largest region to develop independently of the segmental template that patterns most of the central nervous system (CNS). This "supplemental" origin reflects the role of the cortex in the CNS as an associative and analytical region, integrating simpler functions in the rest of the nervous system. Behaviorally, the role of the cortex is to provide sophisticated control and integration on the basis of an analytical overview of the interoceptive and exteroceptive environment. The cortex does not deal directly with sensory afferents or motor neurons, but receives pre-processed sensory information via thalamic relays, and controls behavior by modulating the activity of other CNS structures. In fact, mice nervous system develops without functional cortical connections are able to survive postnatally and performs basic behaviors and co-ordinated movements. The neocortex is concerned with the most abstract level of sensory analysis and behavior guidance. Among CNS structures, it has the widest access to information from diverse receptor systems, allowing it to couple behavior to sensory events. The striking cytoarchitectonic homogeneity of the neocortex is suggestive of a corresponding functional regularity; the implication is that the neocortex extracts characteristic stimulus qualities regardless of modality. The massive interconnection of the neocortex combines and correlates these derived properties, allowing multimodal integration suitable for shaping response patterns. © 2012 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.
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