Large-scale maintenance of dual projections by callosal and frontal cortical projection neurons in adult mice

J Comp Neurol. 2005 Jan 31;482(1):17-32. doi: 10.1002/cne.20428.


Integration of sensory-motor information in premotor cortex of rodents occurs largely through callosal and frontal cortical association projections directed in a hierarchically organized manner. Although most anatomical studies in rodents have been performed in rats, mammalian genetic models have focused on mice, because of their successful manipulation on the genetic and cell biological levels. It is therefore important to establish the normal patterns of anatomical connectivity in mice, which potentially differ from those in rats. The goal of this study is to investigate the anatomical development of callosal and frontal premotor projection neurons (CPN and FPN, respectively) in mouse sensory-motor and premotor cortex and to investigate quantitatively the potential laminar differences between these neurons with simultaneous callosal and frontal projections during development. The retrograde tracers Fluoro-Gold and DiI were injected into sensory-motor and premotor cortices, respectively, C57Bl/6 mice at different developmental times (P2, P8, P21, adult). We found that, in contrast to the case in primate and cat, there is widespread overlap in populations of long-distance projection neurons in mice; many projection neurons have simultaneous projections to both contralateral somatosensory cortex and ipsilateral frontal cortex, and a considerable number of these dual projections persist into adulthood. In addition, there are significant laminar differences in the percentage of neurons with simultaneous callosal and frontal projections, and an isolated population of layer V FPN has bilateral projections to both premotor cortical hemispheres. Taken together, our results indicate that a large proportion of individual projection neurons maintains simultaneous callosal and frontal projections in adult mice, suggesting that these dual projections might serve the critical function of integrating motor coordination information with multimodal association areas.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cell Count
  • Corpus Callosum / cytology*
  • Mice
  • Mice, Inbred C57BL
  • Motor Cortex / cytology
  • Motor Skills
  • Nerve Net / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / cytology*
  • Neurons / cytology*
  • Prefrontal Cortex / cytology*
  • Somatosensory Cortex / cytology*