In human most cortical γ-aminobutyric acidergic (GABAergic) neurons are produced in the proliferative zones of the dorsal telencephalon in contrast to rodents. We report that in cynomolgus monkey fetuses cortical GABAergic neurons are generated in the proliferative zones of the dorsal telencephalon, in addition to the proliferative region of the ventral telencephalon, the ganglionic eminence (GE), however, with a temporal delay. GABAergic neuron progenitors labeled for Mash1 and GAD65 were present mainly in the GE at embryonic days (E) 47–55, and in the entire dorsal telencephalon at E64–75. These progenitors within the dorsal telencephalon are generated locally rather than in the GE. The ventral and dorsal lineages of cortical GABAergic neurons display different laminar distribution. Early generated GABAergic neurons from the GE mostly populate the marginal zone and subplate, whereas cortical plate GABAergic neurons originate from both ventral and dorsal telencephalon. A differential regulation of the two GABA synthesizing enzymes (GAD65 and GAD67) parallels GABAergic neuron differentiation. GAD65 is preferentially expressed in GABAergic progenitors and migrating neurons, GAD67 in morphologically differentiated neurons. Therefore, the dorsal telencephalic origin of cortical GABAergic neurons is not human-specific but appears as a former event in the ascent of evolution that could provide GABAergic neurons to an expending neocortex.

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