The neuronal composition of callosally projecting cells in cat visual cortex was determined with a combination of retrograde labelling and intracellular injection. Fluorescent tracers were stereotaxically injected into the proximity of the area 17/18 border, corresponding to the representation of the visual vertical meridian. In fixed slice preparations of homotopic regions of the contralateral hemisphere retrogradely labelled cells were filled with Lucifer Yellow. Of more than a hundred injected cells a morphological variety of pyramidal cells, located in cortical layers II-IV and VI, constituted the prevalent cell class in the contralateral projection. A minor proportion of spiny stellate cells was encountered in layer IV. Despite the presence of a contralaterally projecting smooth stellate cell, presumed to be a basket cell, it is concluded that the efferents to contralateral visual cortex predominantly arise from pyramidal and spiny stellate cells. Thus, in agreement with findings from anterograde degeneration studies, the interhemispheric pathway most likely conveys a direct excitatory input to postsynaptic target cells.
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