Ontogeny of corticocortical projections of the rat somatosensory cortex.
Rhodamine-coated microspheres (RCMs) were injected into the primary somatosensory cortex (SI) of rats ranging in age from postnatal (PN) day 1 to adulthood. Ipsilateral corticocortical and callosal projections within the SI were identified as early as PN day 1. At the end of the first PN week, ipsilaterally projecting neurons located in sublayer VIb were the first to assume an adult-like pattern of connectivity. Injections at subsequent postnatal ages revealed that an adult pattern of lamination of ipsilateral corticocortical projections within the SI is established between PN weeks 2 and 3, comprising projection neurons from layers II/III, layer V, and sublayer VIb. Therefore, local interactions in the rat SI are mediated not only by pyramidal neurons of layers III and V, derived from the cortical plate, but also by a subpopulation of ontogenetically older neurons located in the sublayer VIb, which may correspond to the subplate neurons of other species. Overall, these results suggest the existence of three independent short-range corticocortical systems of projections within the rat SI, which differ in terms of the laminar distribution and ontogenetic origin of their cells.
Nicolelis, MA; Chapin, JK; Lin, CS
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