Book Review: Two Phylogenetic Specializations in the Human Brain

@article{Allman2002BookRT,
  title={Book Review: Two Phylogenetic Specializations in the Human Brain},
  author={John Allman and Atiya Y. Hakeem and Karli K. Watson},
  journal={The Neuroscientist},
  year={2002},
  volume={8},
  pages={335 - 346}
}
In this study, two anatomical specializations of the brain in apes and humans are considered. One of these is a whole cortical area located in the frontal polar cortex (Brodmann’s area 10), and the other is a morphologically distinctive cell type, the spindle neuron of the anterior cingulate cortex. The authors suggest that the spindle cells may relay to other parts of the brain—especially to area 10, the outcome of processing within the anterior cingulate cortex. This relay conveys the… 
Human prefrontal cortex: evolution, development, and pathology.
TLDR
A phylogenetically recent reorganization of frontal cortical circuitry may have been critical to the emergence of human-specific executive and social-emotional functions, and developmental pathology in these same systems underlies many psychiatric and neurological disorders, including autism and schizophrenia.
Spindle Neurons in the Anterior Cingulate Cortex of Humans and Great Apes
TLDR
This chapter reviews the structures and functions of the anterior cingulate cortex of humans and primates and discusses the significance of the presence of the spindle neurons in the ACC of a chimpanzee fetus, which is one of the neurotrophic factors in the vertebrate central nervous system (CNS).
Developmental changes in the spatial organization of neurons in the neocortex of humans and common chimpanzees
TLDR
The current findings suggest that there is a relatively slower maturation of area 10 in both humans and chimpanzees as compared to other cortical regions, and that further refinement of the spatial organization of neurons within this prefrontal area in humans takes place after the postweaning periods included here.
Von Economo neurons: A review of the anatomy and functions
TLDR
Some researchers have shown that selective destruction of VENs in the early stages of frontotemporal dementia implies that they are involved in empathy, social awareness, and self-control which are consistent with evidence from functional imaging.
Evolutionary appearance of von Economo’s neurons in the mammalian cerebral cortex
TLDR
Venvon Economo’s neurons (VENs) are large, spindle-shaped projection neurons in layer V of the frontoinsular (FI) cortex, and the anterior cingulate cortex that are selectively affected in a behavioral variant of frontotemporal dementia, thus associating VENs with the social brain.
Von Economo neuron density in the anterior cingulate cortex is reduced in early onset schizophrenia
TLDR
It is suggested that VENs in the anterior cingulate cortex are involved in neurodevelopmental and perhaps neurodegenerative processes specific to schizophrenia.
Spatial organization of neurons in the frontal pole sets humans apart from great apes.
TLDR
It is suggested that human brain evolution was likely characterized by an increase in the number and width of minicolumns and the space available for interconnectivity between neurons in the frontal lobe, especially the prefrontal cortex.
The von Economo neurons in the frontoinsular and anterior cingulate cortex
TLDR
Selective destruction of VENs in early stages of frontotemporal dementia (FTD) implies that they are involved in empathy, social awareness, and self‐control, consistent with evidence from functional imaging.
Little-known neurons of the medial wall: a literature review of pyramidal cells of the cingulate gyrus.
TLDR
It is considered that knowledge of these little-known pyramidal fields of the medial wall of the human brain is essential to the understanding of how the brain functions both in sickness and in health.
THE VON ECONOMO NEURONS: FROM CELLS TO BEHAVIOR
The von Economo neurons are one of the few known specializations to hominoid cortical microcircuitry. The recent emergence of this cell type, as well as its localization to subregions of the frontal
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References

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TLDR
It is proposed that the anterior cingulate cortex is a specialization of neocortex rather than a more primitive stage of cortical evolution, and thus are a recent evolutionary specialization probably related to these functions central to intelligent behavior.
Prefrontal cortex in humans and apes: a comparative study of area 10.
TLDR
The human brain is larger relative to the rest of the brain than it is in the apes, and its supragranular layers have more space available for connections with other higher-order association areas, which suggests that the neural substrates supporting cognitive functions associated with this part of the cortex enlarged and became specialized during hominid evolution.
Spindle neurons of the human anterior cingul. Ate cortex
TLDR
Observations indicate that the spindle cells of the human cingulate cortex represent a morphological subpopulation of pyramidal neurons whose restricted distribution may be associated with functionally distinct areas.
A neuronal morphologic type unique to humans and great apes.
TLDR
The existence and distribution of an unusual type of projection neuron, a large, spindle-shaped cell, in layer Vb of the anterior cingulate cortex of pongids and hominids is reported, which suggests some of the differential neuronal susceptibility that occurs in the human brain in the course of age-related dementing illnesses may have appeared only recently during primate evolution.
Cognitive and emotional influences in anterior cingulate cortex
TLDR
Various findings are reviewed in relation to the idea that ACC is a part of a circuit involved in a form of attention that serves to regulate both cognitive and emotional processing, and how the success of this regulation in controlling responses might be correlated with cingulate size.
An unusual population of pyramidal neurons in the anterior cingulate cortex of hominids contains the calcium-binding protein calretinin
TLDR
A previously unrecognized group of pyramidal neurons, restricted to the superficial part of layer V in the anterior cingulate cortex of hominids and characterized by immunoreactivity to the calcium-binding protein, calretinin, are described.
Regional dendritic and spine variation in human cerebral cortex: a quantitative golgi study.
TLDR
Dendritic progression appears to reflect significant differences in the nature of cortical processing, with spine-dense neurons at hierarchically higher association levels integrating a broader range of synaptic input than those at lower cortical levels.
A primitive gigantopyramidal field buried in the depth of the cingulate sulcus of the human brain
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    Brain Research
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TLDR
A stepwise change of architectonic features in constant orientation from the limbic proisocortex over a small paralimbic transition zone to the gigantopyramidal field is traced, accounting for the numerous limbic traits recognizable within it, such as an accentuated external granular layer, a dense and broad lamina pyramidalis, and a band-like appearance of Va.
The spindle neurons are present in the cingulate cortex of chimpanzee fetus
TLDR
The findings suggest that the existence of the spindle neurons in layer Vb of the anterior cingulate cortex and the presence of BDNF in the pyramidal neurons are intrinsically characterized during the embryonic stage of the chimpanzee.
The neural basis of romantic love
TLDR
The activity in the brains of 17 subjects who were deeply in love was scanned using fMRI, suggesting that a unique network of areas is responsible for evoking this affective state, and postulate that the principle of functional specialization in the cortex applies to affective states as well.
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