Specialized vascularization of the primate visual cortex.
We have analyzed blood vessel distribution in the primary and secondary visual cortices of the squirrel monkey in relation to cortical modules, laminae, and cytoarchitectonic areas. Measurements of microvessel length in tangential sections through the primary visual cortex showed that blobs are more richly vascularized than intervening cortical regions. Thus, the mean total length of microvessel profiles per unit was 42% greater within these cortical modules than within adjacent (interblob) areas. Total microvessel length per unit area in another class of module, the stripes in the secondary visual cortex, was 27% greater than in interstripe regions. Microvessel distribution also varied systematically from layer to layer in the primary visual cortex, being greatest in lamina IVc. Finally, the overall microvessel length per unit area in sections of the primary visual cortex was 26% greater than that in the secondary visual cortex. These observations indicate that the modular, laminar, and regional organization of the primate visual cortex is reflected in the underlying distribution of cortical microvessels. These vascular patterns should be discernable in living animals with vascular contrast agents and appropriate imaging techniques.
Zheng, D; LaMantia, AS; Purves, D
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