The thalamic relations of the caudal inferior parietal lobule and the lateral prefrontal cortex in monkeys: Divergent cortical projections from cell clusters in the medial pulvinar nucleus

  • Asanuma C
  • Andersen R
  • Cowan W
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The thalamic relations of the caudal inferior parietal lobule and the dorsolateral prefrontal cortex in monkeys have been investigated with both anterograde and retrograde neuroanatomical tracing techniques. The results of these experiments indicate that the medial pulvinar nucleus (Pul.m.) is the principal thalamic relay to the gyral surface of the caudal inferior parietal lobule (area 7a). Within the Pul.m. there are two or three disklike aggregates of neurons which project to area 7a; these disklike neuronal aggregates are oriented from dorsomedial to ventrolateral and extend over most of the rostrocaudal extent of the nucleus. Within these disks there are rodlike clusters of neurons which are elongated in the rostrocaudal dimension of the thalamus, and which project in a topographically ordered manner to area 7a. Thus, the more rostrally located neurons within the Pul.m. disks project to more rostral parts of area 7a and, conversely, the more caudally located neurons project to the caudal part of this cortical field. Similarly, the medial part of each disk projects to the lateral part of area 7a while the laterally placed neurons project to the medial part of the cortical field. In addition to its input from the Pul.m., area 7a is also reciprocally connected with the magnocellular division of the nucleus ventralis anterior, with the nuclei which abut upon the medullary capsule of the laterodorsal nucleus, and with the suprageniculate nucleus and the nucleus limitans. The cortex on the lateral bank of the intraparietal sulcus (the so-called lateral intraparietal area, LIP) projects principally to the lateral pulvinar nucleus (Pul.l) of the thalamus rather than to Pul.m. Area LIP has been found to project to the pregeniculate nucleus, the zona incerta, the anterior pretectal nucleus, and the superior colliculus. Area 7a projects to none of these structures, but it does project to the posterior pretectal nucleus. The thalamic relations of the neighboring cortical regions, such as the prelunate gyrus and area 7b, are also distinct from those of area 7a. It thus seems that the prelunate gyrus is primarily interconnected with the Pul.l., and area 7b with the oral pulvinar nucleus. Taken together these different subcortical relationships provide further evidence for the view that the caudal inferior parietal lobule is not a homogeneous cortical area, but is composed of a number of subsidiary fields. The projection from the Pul.m. to the lateral prefrontal cortex arises from disklike aggregates of neurons, similar in their orientation to the neuronal disks that project to area 7a.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Author-supplied keywords

  • inferior parietal lobule
  • lateral prefrontal cortex
  • posteriror parietal cortex

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  • C. Asanuma

  • R. A. Andersen

  • W. M. Cowan

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