Transcriptomic cytoarchitecture reveals principles of human neocortex organization

Nikolas L. Jorstad, Jennie Close, Nelson Johansen, Anna Marie Yanny, Eliza R. Barkan, Kyle J. Travaglini, Darren Bertagnolli, Jazmin Campos, Tamara Casper, Kirsten Crichton, Nick Dee, Song-Lin Ding, Emily Gelfand, Jeff Goldy, Daniel Hirschstein, Katelyn Kiick, Matthew Kroll, Michael Kunst, Kanan Lathia, Brian Long, Naomi Martin, Delissa McMillen, Trangthanh Pham, Christine Rimorin, Augustin Ruiz, Nadiya Shapovalova, Soraya Shehata, Kimberly Siletti, Saroja Somasundaram, Josef Sulc, Michael Tieu, Amy Torkelson, Herman Tung, Edward M. Callaway, Patrick R. Hof, C. Dirk Keene, Boaz P. Levi, Sten Linnarsson, Partha P. Mitra, Kimberly Smith, Rebecca D. Hodge, Trygve E. Bakken, and Ed S. Lein.
Science 2023


Variation in cytoarchitecture is the basis for the histological definition of cortical areas. We used single cell transcriptomics and performed cellular characterization of the human cortex to better understand cortical areal specialization. Single-nucleus RNA-sequencing of 8 areas spanning cortical structural variation showed a highly consistent cellular makeup for 24 cell subclasses. However, proportions of excitatory neuron subclasses varied substantially, likely reflecting differences in connectivity across primary sensorimotor and association cortices. Laminar organization of astrocytes and oligodendrocytes also differed across areas. Primary visual cortex showed characteristic organization with major changes in the excitatory to inhibitory neuron ratio, expansion of layer 4 excitatory neurons, and specialized inhibitory neurons. These results lay the groundwork for a refined cellular and molecular characterization of human cortical cytoarchitecture and areal specialization.