Using histological and electrophysiological methods, we identified the neuroanatomical properties of the common marmoset corticospinal tract (CST), which underlies hand/arm motor control. Biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) was injected into the primary motor cortex to anterogradely label CST axons in the cervical segments, revealing that most CST axons descend in the contralateral dorsolateral funiculus (DLF; 85.0%), and some in the ipsilateral DLF (10.7%). Terminal buttons were mainly found in the contralateral lamina VII of the gray matter, but projection to lamina IX, where forelimb motoneurons are located, was rare. Bilateral projections were more abundant than found in the rat CST, resembling the CST organization of other primates. Intracellular recordings were made from 57 forelimb motoneurons on the contralateral side to stimulation, which revealed no monosynaptic excitatory postsynaptic potentials (EPSPs), but di- or polysynaptic EPSPs and inhibitory synaptic potentials were commonly found. Local field potentials showed monosynaptic excitation mainly in laminae VII, where abundant BDA-labeled CST terminals were observed. These results suggest that direct corticomotoneuronal projection is absent in common marmosets but di- or oligosynaptic effects would be mediated by spinal interneurons.
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