Commissural neurons in layer III of cat primary auditory cortex (AI): pyramidal and non-pyramidal cell input

J Comp Neurol. 1985 Dec 22;242(4):485-510. doi: 10.1002/cne.902420404.


The types of layer III neurons in cat primary auditory cortex (AI) projecting to the contralateral AI were studied with horseradish peroxidase or horseradish peroxidase conjugated to wheat germ agglutinin. Injections between the anterior and posterior ectosylvian sulci retrogradely labeled both pyramidal and non-pyramidal somata in contralateral cortical layers III, V, and VI in AI, and in the ventral nucleus of the ipsilateral medial geniculate body. Three-quarters (72%) of the retrogradely labeled cells were found in layer III and one-quarter (28%) lay in layers V and VI. Every part of AI was innervated by commissural neurons. The topographical distribution of the labeled cells varied systematically. Injections in the caudal part of AI labeled cells in the caudal part of the opposite AI, while more rostral injections labeled cells in the contralateral, rostral AI. Injections covering the rostro-caudal extent of AI labeled cells throughout the opposite AI. Each part of AI thus projects most strongly to a contralateral, homotypic area, and less strongly to other, adjacent sectors of AI. The types of labeled cells were distinguished from one another on the basis of size, somatic and dendritic morphology, laminar distribution, and nuclear membrane morphology. Their somatodendritic profiles were compared to, and correlated with, those in Golgi-impregnated material from adult animals. Among the pyramidal cells of origin were small, medium-sized, and large neurons, and star pyramidal cells. The non-pyramidal cells of origin included bipolar and multipolar cells. Thus, at least six of the 12 kinds of neurons, as defined by morphological methods, participate in the interhemispheric pathway. Pyramidal cells comprised 65% of the cells of origin, 14% of the labeled cells in layer III were non-pyramidal, and 21% of the neurons could not be classified. It is unknown if these different types of commissural neurons have the same laminar or cytological targets in AI, or if they represent more than one functional or parallel pathway within AI. In any case, cytologically diverse layer III neurons contribute to the commissural system.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Auditory Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats
  • Cell Count
  • Dendrites / ultrastructure
  • Female
  • Functional Laterality / physiology
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Neurons / classification*
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Pyramidal Tracts / anatomy & histology*
  • Staining and Labeling


  • Horseradish Peroxidase