We examined the organization of amygdaloid projections to visual cortical areas TE and V1 by injecting anterograde tracers into the amygdaloid complex of Macaca fascicularis monkeys. The magnocellular and intermediate divisions of the basal nucleus of the amygdala gave rise to heavy projections to both superficial layers (border of I/II) and deep layers (V/VI) throughout the rostrocaudal extent of area TE. Although most of the injections led to heavier fiber and terminal labeling in the superficial layers of area TE, the most dorsal injections in the basal nucleus produced denser labeled fibers and terminals in the deep layers of area TE. Area V1 received projections primarily from the magnocellular division of the basal nucleus, and these terminated exclusively in the superficial layers. As in area TE, projections from the amygdala to area V1 were distributed throughout its rostrocaudal and transverse extents. Labeled axons demonstrated 11.67 varicosities/100 microm on average in the superficial layers of area TE and 8.74 varicosities/100 microm in the deep layers. In area V1 we observed 8.24 varicosities/100 microm. Using confocal microscopy, we determined that at least 55% of the tracer-labeled varicosities in areas TE and V1 colocalized synaptophysin, a marker of synaptic vesicles, indicating that they are probably synaptic boutons. Electron microscopic examination of a sample of these varicosities confirmed that labeled boutons formed synapses in areas TE and V1. These feedback-like projections from the amygdala have the potential of modulating key areas of the visual processing system.
Copyright 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.