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We examined the number, distribution, and immunoreactivity of the infracortical white matter neuronal population, also termed white matter interstitial cells (WMICs), throughout the telencephalic white matter of an adult female chimpanzee. Staining for neuronal nuclear marker (NeuN) revealed WMICs throughout the infracortical white matter, these cells being most numerous and dense close to the inner border of cortical layer VI, decreasing significantly in density with depth in the white matter. Stereological analysis of NeuN-immunopositive cells revealed an estimate of approximately 137.2 million WMICs within the infracortical white matter of the chimpanzee brain studied. Immunostaining revealed subpopulations of WMICs containing neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS, approximately 14.4 million in number), calretinin (CR, approximately 16.7 million), very few WMICs containing parvalbumin (PV), and no calbindin-immunopositive neurons. The nNOS, CR, and PV immunopositive WMICs, possibly all inhibitory neurons, represent approximately 22.6% of the total WMIC population. As the white matter is affected in many cognitive conditions, such as schizophrenia, autism, epilepsy, and also in neurodegenerative diseases, understanding these neurons across species is important for the translation of findings of neural dysfunction in animal models to humans. Furthermore, studies of WMICs in species such as apes provide a crucial phylogenetic context for understanding the evolution of these cell types in the human brain.

Original publication




Journal article


J Comp Neurol

Publication Date



RRID - AB_10000321, RRID - AB_10000340, RRID - AB_10000343, RRID - AB_11204707, RRID - AB_91824, ape brain, cortical evolution, immunohistochemistry, interstitial white matter neurons, neurochemistry, primate brain