Distribution and morphology of area 17 neurons that project to the cat's extrastriate cortex.
We used intracellular dye injections in lightly fixed cortical slices to examine the distribution and morphology of area 17 neurons that project to extrastriate cortex. Both the projection to the medial bank of the posterior lateral suprasylvian sulcus (PMLS) and the projection to area 18 arise from a number of different morphological types distributed throughout layers 2-6. The majority are found in the superficial layers and include large, medium, and small pyramidal neurons. Some are also found in the deep layers and they include very large, pyramidal neurons as well as some heretofore undescribed, fusiform neurons. The projection to area 18 contains two types not found in the projection to PMLS: spinous stellate neurons in layer 4 and inverted pyramidal neurons in layer 3. Finding that a variety of morphological types contribute projections to a single cortical area raises the possibility that corticocortical projections, like retinogeniculate and geniculocortical projections, comprise multiple parallel pathways with different physiological properties and patterns of termination. Finding that the projection to area 18 contains morphological types that do not project to PMLS indicates that the projections from area 17 are likely to contribute to the functional specialization of extrastriate visual areas.
Einstein, G; Fitzpatrick, D
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