The Representation of Orientation in Macaque V2: Four Stripes Not Three

Cereb Cortex. 2015 Sep;25(9):2354-69. doi: 10.1093/cercor/bhu033. Epub 2014 Mar 9.


Area V2 of macaque monkeys is traditionally thought to consist of 3 distinct functional compartments with characteristic cortical connections and functional properties. Orientation selectivity is one property that has frequently been used to distinguish V2 stripes, however, this receptive field property has been found in a high percentage of neurons across V2 compartments. Using quantitative intrinsic cortical imaging, we derived maps of preferred orientation, orientation selectivity, and orientation gradient in thin stripes, thick stripes, and interstripes in area V2. Orientation-selective responses were found in each V2 stripe, but the magnitude and organization of orientation selectivity differed significantly from stripe to stripe. Remarkably, the 2 pale stripes flanking each cytochrome oxidase dense stripe differed significantly in their representation of orientation resulting in their distinction as type-I and type-II interstripes. V2 orientation maps are characterized by clockwise and anticlockwise "orientation pinwheels", but unlike V1, they are not homogeneously distributed across V2. Furthermore, V2 stripes contain large-scale sequences of preferred orientation. These analyses demonstrate that V2 consists of 4 distinct functional compartments; thick stripes and type-II interstripes, which are strongly orientation selective and thin stripes and type-I interstripes, which are significantly less selective for orientation and exhibit larger orientation gradient magnitudes.

Keywords: cortical modules; cortical streams; cytochrome oxidase; intrinsic imaging; visual cortex.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Dominance, Ocular
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism
  • Female
  • Luminescent Agents / metabolism
  • Luminescent Measurements
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Male
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Support Vector Machine
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Cortex / metabolism
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways


  • Luminescent Agents
  • Electron Transport Complex IV