Maps in the brain: what can we learn from them?

Annu Rev Neurosci. 2004;27:369-92. doi: 10.1146/annurev.neuro.27.070203.144226.

Abstract

In mammalian visual cortex, neurons are organized according to their functional properties into multiple maps such as retinotopic, ocular dominance, orientation preference, direction of motion, and others. What determines the organization of cortical maps? We argue that cortical maps reflect neuronal connectivity in intracortical circuits. Because connecting distant neurons requires costly wiring (i.e., axons and dendrites), there is an evolutionary pressure to place connected neurons as close to each other as possible. Then, cortical maps may be viewed as solutions that minimize wiring cost for given intracortical connectivity. These solutions can help us in inferring intracortical connectivity and, ultimately, in understanding the function of the visual system.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Humans
  • Nerve Net / anatomy & histology
  • Nerve Net / growth & development
  • Nerve Net / physiology*
  • Neural Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Neural Pathways / growth & development
  • Neural Pathways / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Fields / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Pathways / growth & development
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*