Interchange of callosal and association projections in the developing visual cortex

J Neurosci. 1986 May;6(5):1384-409. doi: 10.1523/JNEUROSCI.06-05-01384.1986.


Neurons projecting transitorily into the corpus callosum from area 17 of the cat were retrogradely labeled by the fluorescent tracer Fast Blue (FB) injected into contralateral areas 17 and 18 on postnatal days 1-5. During the second postnatal month these neurons were still labeled by the early injection, although they had eliminated their callosal axon. At this time, 15-20% of these neurons could be retrogradely relabeled by injections of Diamidino Yellow (DY) into ipsilateral areas 17 and 18, but few or none by similar injections in the other areas that receive from area 17 (19, 21a, PMLS, 20a, 20b, DLS). Similarly, area 17 neurons projecting transitorily to contralateral area PMLS during the first postnatal week could be relabeled by DY injections in ipsilateral areas 17 and 18 but not in PMLS. Already around birth, many transitorily callosal neurons in area 17 send bifurcating axons both to contralateral areas 17 and 18 and ipsilateral area 18. It is probable that during postnatal development some of these neurons selectively eliminate their callosal axon collaterals and maintain the projection to ipsilateral area 18. In fact, some transitorily callosal neurons in area 17 can be double-labeled by simultaneous perinatal injections of FB in contralateral areas 17 and 18 and of a new long-lasting retrograde tracer, rhodamine-conjugated latex microspheres, in ipsilateral area 18. The same neurons can then be relabeled by reinjecting ipsilateral area 18 with DY during the second postnatal month. This finding, however, does not exclude the possibility that some transitorily callosal neurons send an axon to ipsilateral area 18 after eliminating their callosal axon. In conclusion, area 17 neurons that project transitorily through the corpus callosum later participate, probably permanently, in ipsilateral corticocortical projections but selectively to areas 17-18. The mechanism responsible for this selectivity is unknown, but it may be related to the differential radial distribution (i.e., to birth date) of area 17 neurons engaged in the various corticocortical projections. The problems raised by the use of long-lasting retrograde fluorescent tracers in neurodevelopmental studies and by the quantification of results of double- and triple-labeling paradigms are also discussed.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Amidines
  • Animals
  • Animals, Newborn / growth & development
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cats
  • Corpus Callosum / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission*
  • Visual Cortex / growth & development*


  • Amidines
  • diamidino compound 253-50
  • diamidino yellow