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Areal Distribution Of The Von Economo In The Anterior Insular And Anterior Cingulate Cortices In The Macaque Monkey

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http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83908

Evrard,  HC
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;
Dept. Empirical Inference, Max Planck Institute for Intelligent System, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons83914

Forro,  T
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

http://pubman.mpdl.mpg.de/cone/persons/resource/persons84063

Logothetis,  NK
Department Physiology of Cognitive Processes, Max Planck Institute for Biological Cybernetics, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Evrard, H., Forro, T., & Logothetis, N. (2012). Areal Distribution Of The Von Economo In The Anterior Insular And Anterior Cingulate Cortices In The Macaque Monkey. Poster presented at 8th Forum of European Neuroscience (FENS 2012), Barcelona, Spain.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0013-B6D0-2
Abstract
The anterior insular (AIC) and anterior cingulate (ACC) cortices and their unique spindle-shaped von Economo neurons (VENs) emerged within the last decade as having a potentially major role in interoceptive, emotional and social awareness and cognition in humans. A role of the VENs in these fundamental phenomena is supported by their selective depletion in highly detrimental neuropsychiatric diseases characterized by a loss of self-conscious emotion and empathy and by a lack of appropriate behavioral response in emotionally-salient situations. The much-needed invasive examination of the VENs in the laboratory has been limited so far by the assumption that this neuron occurs among primates exclusively in humans and great apes. In a recent contribution, we demonstrated the presence of VENs in the agranular anterior insula and ACC in two species of macaque monkeys (rhesus and cynomolgus) typically used in the laboratory. VENs were also found in the same regions in a broad range of monkeys and in lesser apes. In the present contribution, we demonstrate that VENs in the macaque occur in an architectonically distinct area of the agranular anterior insula, namely ´Ia5´, and in several distinct areas in ACC and in the medial wall of the prefrontal cortex. This specific areal distribution of the VENs suggests that their developmental fate is bound to the overall plan of development and parcellation of the cerebral cortex in primates. It also offers a unique opportunity to examine the primal function and connections of the VENs on the basis of what is already known about these areas in the macaque monkey. Such examination could provide significantly new and valuable information on the possible role of the VENs in human self-awareness, social cognition and related neuropsychiatric disorders.