Topographic organization in the corticocortical connections of medial agranular cortex in rats

J Comp Neurol. 1990 Apr 8;294(2):262-80. doi: 10.1002/cne.902940210.


Medial agranular cortex (AGm) is a narrow, longitudinally oriented region known to have extensive corticortical connections. The rostral and caudal portions of AGm exhibit functional differences that may involve these connections. Therefore we have examined the rostrocaudal organization of the afferent cortical connections of AGm by using fluorescent tracers, to determine whether there are significant differences between rostral and caudal AGm. Mediolateral patterns have also been examined in order to compare the pattern of corticocortical connections of AGm to those of the laterally adjacent lateral agranular cortex (AGl) and medially adjacent anterior cingulate area (AC). In the rostrocaudal domain, there are notable patterns in the connections of AGm with somatic sensorimotor, visual, and retrosplenial cortex. Rostral AGm receives extensive afferents from the caudal part of somatic sensorimotor area Par I, whereas caudal AGm receives input largely from the hindlimb cortex (area HL). Middle portions of AGm show an intermediate condition, indicating a continuously changing pattern rather than the presence of sharp border zones. The whole of the second somatic sensorimotor area Par II projects to rostral AGm, whereas caudal AGm receives input only from the caudal portion of Par II. Visual cortex projections to AGm originate in areas Oc1, Oc2L and Oc2M. Connections of rostral AGm with visual cortex are noticeably less dense than those of mid and caudal AGm, and are focused in area Oc2L. The granular visual area Oc1 projects almost exclusively to mid and caudal AGm. Retrosplenial cortex has more extensive connections with caudal AGm than with rostral AGm, and the agranular and granular retrosplenial subregions are both involved. Other cortical connections of AGm show little or no apparent rostrocaudal topography. These include afferents from orbital, perirhinal, and entorhinal cortex, all of which are bilateral in origin. In the mediolateral dimension, AGm has more extensive corticocortical connections than either AGl or AC. Of these three neighboring areas, only AGm has connections with the somatic sensorimotor, visual, retrosplenial and orbital cortices. In keeping with its role as primary motor cortex, AGl is predominantly connected with area Par I of somatic sensorimotor cortex, specifically rostral Par I. AGl receives no input from visual or retrosplenial cortex. Anterior cingulate cortex has connections with visual area Oc2 and with retrosplenial cortex, but none with somatic sensorimotor cortex. Orbital cortex projections are sparse to AGl and do not appear to involve AC.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Rats


  • Fluorescent Dyes