We investigated the patterns of projections from the pulvinar to visual areas V1, V2, V4, and MT, and their relationships to pulvinar subdivisions based on patterns of calbindin (CB) immunostaining and estimates of visual field maps (P(1), P(2) and P(3)). Multiple retrograde tracers were placed into V1, V2, V4, and/or MT in 11 adult macaque monkeys. The inferior pulvinar (PI) was subdivided into medial (PI(M)), posterior (PI(P)), central medial (PI(CM)), and central lateral (PI(CL)) regions, confirming earlier CB studies. The P(1) map includes PI(CL) and the ventromedial portion of the lateral pulvinar (PL), P(2) is found in ventrolateral PL, and P(3) includes PI(P), PI(M), and PI(CM). Projections to areas V1 and V2 were found to be overlapping in P(1) and P(2), but those from P(2) to V2 were denser than those to V1. V2 also received light projections from PI(CM) and, less reliably, from PI(M). Neurons projecting to V4 and MT were more abundant than those projecting to V1 and V2. Those projecting to V4 were observed in P(1), densely in P(2), and also in PI(CM) and PI(P) of P(3). Those projecting to MT were found in P(1)- P(3), with the heaviest projection from P(3). Projections from P(3) to MT and V4 were mainly interdigitated, with the densest to MT arising from PI(M) and the densest to V4 arising from PI(P) and PI(CM). Because the calbindin-rich and -poor regions of P(3) corresponded to differential patterns of cortical connectivity, the results suggest that CB may further delineate functional subdivisions in the pulvinar.
Copyright 2000 Wiley-Liss, Inc.