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Cytoarchitectonics (κύτος=cell + αρχιτεκτονική=architecture) connotes the study of the cellular composition of the body's tissues under the microscope. Applied particularly to the study of the central nervous system, cytoarchitectonics is one of the ways to parse the brain (along with gross anatomy, topography, receptor-binding autoradiography, immunohistochemistry, etc.), by obtaining sections of the brain and staining them with chemical agents that reveal how nerve cell bodies (or neurons) are "stacked" into layers. The study of the parcellation of nerve fibers (primarily axons) into layers forms the subject of myeloarchitectonics (μυελός=marrow + αρχιτεκτονική=architecture), an approach complementary to cytoarchitectonics.

The birth of the cytoarchitectonics of the human cerebral cortex is credited to the Viennese psychiatrist Theodor Meynert (1833-1892), who in 1867 noticed regional variations in the histological structure of different parts of the gray matter in the cerebral hemispheres.[1] Other brain scientists who subsequently contributed further classic studies on cortical cytoarchitectonics are: Englishman Alfred Walter Campbell (1868-1937),[2] who presented a system of cortical parcellation into 14 areas; Sir Grafton Elliot Smith (1871-1937), a New South Wales native working in Cairo, with observations identifying 50 areas;[3] Korbinian Brodmann (1868-1918) in Berlin, working on the brains of diverse mammalian species and developing a division of the cerebral cortex into 52 discrete areas (of which 44 in the human, and the remaining 8 in non-human primate brain);[4][5] and neurologists Constantin von Economo (1876-1931) and Georg N. Koskinas (1885-1975) in Vienna, who produced a landmark work in brain research by defining 107 cortical areas on the basis of cytoarchitectonic criteria.[6][7]


  1. ^ Meynert, T. (1872) Der Bau der Gross-Hirnrinde und seine örtlichen Verschiedenheiten, nebst einem pathologisch–anatomischen Corollarium. J.H. Heuser’sche Verlagsbuchhandlung, Neuwied & Leipzig.
  2. ^ Campbell, A.W. (1903) Histological studies on cerebral localisation. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London 72: 488-492.
  3. ^ Elliot Smith, G. (1907) A new topographical survey of the human cerebral cortex, being an account of the distribution of the anatomically distinct cortical areas and their relationship to the cerebral sulci. Journal of Anatomy and Physiology (London) 41: 237-254.
  4. ^ Brodmann, K. (1909) Vergleichende Lokalisationslehre der Grosshirnrinde in ihren Prinzipien dargestellt auf Grund des Zellenbaues. Johann Ambrosius Barth, Leipzig.
  5. ^ Garey, L.J. (2006) Brodmann’s Localisation in the Cerebral Cortex. Springer Science, New York.
  6. ^ Economo, C. von, Koskinas, G.N. (1925) Die Cytoarchitektonik der Hirnrinde des erwachsenen Menschen. Julius Springer, Vienna.
  7. ^ Economo, C. von, Koskinas, G.N. (2008) Atlas of Cytoarchitectonics of the Adult Human Cerebral Cortex (translated, revised and edited by L.C. Triarhou). Karger, Basel.
This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Cytoarchitectonics". A list of authors is available in Wikipedia.
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