Encyclopedia of Clinical Neuropsychology

2018 Edition
| Editors: Jeffrey S. Kreutzer, John DeLuca, Bruce Caplan

Magnocellular Neurons

  • Uraina S. ClarkEmail author
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-57111-9_1381


The magnocellular pathway is one of three primary subcortical pathways (magnocellular, parvocellular, and koniocellular pathways) leading from the retina to visual cortex via the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN). Cells in the magnocellular pathway (M pathway) are specialized for detecting contrast sensitivity, course features, and movement. In some ways, the M pathway can be considered the origin of the parietal or dorsal visual stream, as it has been shown that the M pathway dominates in the route leading from V1 to the parietal cortex. Experimental ablation of the M pathway results in reduced spatial contrast sensitivity and impairments in detecting rapidly moving or flickering stimuli, while visual acuity and color contrast sensitivity appear to be spared.

Current Knowledge

Of the three major visual streams in the primate visual system, much is known about the magnocellular and parvocellular (P) pathways, whereas less is known about the more recently discovered...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.

Further Readings

  1. Beckers, G., & Hömberg, V. (1992). Cerebral visual motion blindness: Transitory akinetopsia induced by transcranial magnetic stimulation of human area V5. Proceedings of the Royal Society of London, 24, 173–178.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. De Valois, R. L., & Cottaris, N. P. (1998). Inputs to directionally selective simple cells in macaque striate cortex. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, 95(24), 14488–14493.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  3. Zihl, J., von Cramon, D., & Mai, N. (1983). Selective disturbance of movement vision after bilateral brain damage. Brain, 106, 313–340.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

For Information About the M and P Pathways See

  1. Kaplan, E., Lee, B. B., & Shapley, R. M. (1990). New views of primate retinal function. In N. N. Osborne & G. J. Chader (Eds.), Progress in retinal research (Vol. 9, pp. 273–336). New York: Pergamon Press.Google Scholar
  2. Merigan, W. H., & Maunsell, J. H. R. (1993). How parallel are the primate visual pathways? Annual Review of Neuroscience, 16, 369–402.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Van Essen, D. C., & Maunsell, J. H. R. (1983). Hierarchical organization and functional streams in the visual cortex. Trends in Neuroscience, 6, 270–275.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

For Information About the K Pathway See

  1. White, A. J. R., Solomon, S. G., & Martin, P. R. (2001). Spatial properties of koniocellular cells in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the marmoset Calithrix jacchus. The Journal of Physiology, 533, 519–535.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar
  2. Xu, X., Ichida, M. J., Allison, J. D., Boyd, J. D., Bonds, A. B., & Casagrande, V. A. (2001). A comparison of koniocellular, magnocellular and parvocellular receptive field properties in the lateral geniculate nucleus of the owl monkey (Aotus trivirgatus). The Journal of Physiology, 531, 203–218.CrossRefPubMedPubMedCentralGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of NeurologyIcahn School of Medicine at Mount SinaiNew YorkUSA