The primate auditory cortex is comprised of a core region of three primary areas, surrounded by a belt region of secondary areas and a parabelt region lateral to the belt. The main sources of thalamocortical inputs to the auditory cortex are the medial geniculate complex (MGC), medial pulvinar (PM), and several adjoining nuclei in the posterior thalamus. The distribution of inputs varies topographically by cortical area and thalamic nucleus, but in a manner that has not been fully characterized in primates. In this study, the thalamocortical connections of the lateral belt and parabelt were determined by placing retrograde tracer injections into various areas of these regions in the marmoset monkey. Both regions received projections from the medial (MGm) and posterodorsal (MGpd) divisions of the medial geniculate complex (MGC); however, labeled cells in the anterodorsal (MGad) division were present only from injections into the caudal belt. Thalamic inputs to the lateral belt appeared to come mainly from the MGC, whereas the parabelt also received a strong projection from the PM, consistent with its position as a later stage of auditory cortical processing. The results of this study also indicate that the organization of the marmoset auditory cortex is similar to other primates.
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