Lateral geniculate projections to the superficial layers of visual cortex in the tree shrew

J Comp Neurol. 1992 May 1;319(1):159-71. doi: 10.1002/cne.903190113.


Our recent studies of tree shrew striate cortex have focused on the organization of lateral geniculate projections to layer IV and the projections from IV to layer III. Although these pathways play an important role in determining the response properties of layer III neurons, there are additional pathways from the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) that terminate directly in layer III. Previous studies provided evidence that these projections originate from layers 6 and 3 of the LGN and terminate in different subdivisions of layer III. In this study we used injections of biocytin to examine the projections of layers 6 and 3 to the cortex in more detail. Consistent with earlier work, we found that LGN layer 6 projects heavily to lower IIIc, while LGN layer 3 terminates densely in layer IIIb and sparsely throughout layers IIIa-I. In addition, we found that neurons in layers 6 and 3 have collateral projections: neurons in LGN layer 6 project to the bottom of layer IVb and sparsely to I-IIIb; neurons in LGN layer 3 project sparsely to layers V and VI and to the middle of IV. These patterns of projections are significant in the light of our studies of the connections from cortical layer IV to layer III. LGN projections to the superficial layers are organized into parallel pathways that exert selective influence over different populations of neurons in layers I-III and on the layer IV neurons that supply them.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Geniculate Bodies / anatomy & histology*
  • Geniculate Bodies / cytology
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Species Specificity
  • Tupaiidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Cortex / cytology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology