In primates, the koniocellular (K) layers of the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and the calbindin-rich subdivisions of the inferior pulvinar (IPul) nucleus are considered part of a thalamic matrix system which projects diffusely to superficial cortical layers. Activity in the matrix system is proposed to coordinate oscillatory activity in thalamocortical loops. Further, since both K cells and IPul are involved in visual processing pathways, especially in alternative pathways to visual cortex after V1 lesion in early life (“blindsight”), their functional similarities have been strongly implicated. Here we tested the hypothesis that calbindin-positive K cells and IPul cells constitute a continuous group of cells. By combining immunohistochemistry and a high-throughput neuronal tracing method, we found that both K cells and IPul form reciprocal connections with striate and extrastriate cortices; whereas principal laminae of LGN do not receive inputs from extrastriate cortex and only project sparsely to these areas. Retrograde labelled cells in lateral division of IPul merged seamlessly into the retrograde labelled cells in K layers. These results supported the continuity between LGN K layers and IPul, providing the anatomical basis for functional congruity of this part of dorsal thalamic matrix.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)
- Immunology and Microbiology(all)
- Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)