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Topographical and topological organization of the thalamocortical projection to the striate and prestriate cortex in the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus)

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In eleven hemispheres of nine marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus), we have investigated the thalamo-cortical organization of the projections from the pulvinar to the striate and prestriate cortex. In each experiment, single or multiple injections of various retrograde fluorescent tracers were injected into adjacent regions or areas. In two experiments, horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was injected into the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and the lateral pulvinar, respectively. The results show that the thalamo-cortical projection from LGN to striate cortex and from pulvinar to the prestriate cortex are similarly organized, but the geniculo-striate projection is more precise than the pulvinar-prestriate projection. The pulvinar-prestriate projection is topographically organized and preserves topological neighbourhood relations. Projection zones to the various visual areas are concentrically wrapped around each other. The projection zone to area 18 constitutes a central core region. It begins ventro-laterally in PuL where the pulvinar is in contact with the LGN. This contact zone we called the hilus region of the pulvinar. The area 18-projection zone stretches as a central cone into the posterior pulvinar through PuL and into PuM. It is surrounded by the projection zone to the posterior belt of area 19 and this in turn is surrounded by the projection zone to the anterior belt of area 19. The projection zones to area 19 are then surrounded medially and dorsally by zones projectiong to the temporal and parietal association cortex, respectively. The projection zone to area MT is located medio-ventrally in the posterior pulvinar (PuIP and surrounding nuclei) and coincides with a densely myelinated region. Area 17 also receives input from the pulvinar but probably predominantly in the region of the central visual field. The pulvinar zone projecting to area 17 is located ventrolaterally from the central core region projecting to area 18 and is contiguous laterally with the LGN. If the positions of the vertical and the horizontal meridian in the pulvinar correspond to those in the respective cortical projection zones, a second order visual field representation such as found in area 18, with the horizontal meridian split at an excentricity of about 7–10°, can also be recognized in the pulvinar.

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A :

Subcortical nuclei and subnuclei, cf. — Stephan et al. (1980)


Nucleus anterior dorsalis thalami


Nucleus anterior ventralis thalami


Nucleus centralis dorsalis thalami


Nucleus centralis lateralis thalami


Centrum medianum thalami


Colliculus superior


Formatio reticularis pontis, pars oralis


Corpus geniculatum mediale


Nucleus interstitialis brachii colliculi inferioris


Corpus geniculatum laterale dorsale


Corpus geniculatum laterale ventrale


Nucleus lateralis dorsalis thalami


Nucleus limitans thalami


Nucleus lateralis posterior thalami


Nucleus medialis dorsalis thalami


Nucleus olivaris superior lateralis


Nucleus olivaris superior medialis


Nucleus parabigeminalis


Pulvinar inferior; PulP Pulvinar inferior posterior


Pulvinar lateralis


Pulvinar medialis


Pulvinar oralis


Nucleus reticularis thalami


Nucleus suprageniculatus


Nucleus ventralis anterior thalami


Nucleus ventralis lateralis thalami


Nucleus ventralis posterior lateralis thalami


Nucleus ventralis posterior medialis thalami


Nucleus nervi trochlearis

B :

Cortical areas and subareas, (after Spatz 1977a; Spatz et al. 1987 Allman and Kaas 1975):


Area striata (V I)


Area 18 (V II)


Area 19 dorso-intermediate


Area 19 dorso-lateral


Area 19 dorso-medial


Area 19 medial


Area 19 ventral


Middle temporal area


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Correspondence to O. D. Creutzfeldt.

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Dick, A., Kaske, A. & Creutzfeldt, O.D. Topographical and topological organization of the thalamocortical projection to the striate and prestriate cortex in the marmoset (Callithrix jacchus). Exp Brain Res 84, 233–253 (1991). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00231444

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Key words

  • Pulvinar
  • Area 17
  • Prestriate cortex
  • Thalamo-cortical organization
  • Callithrix jacchus