Local circuit neurons of macaque monkey striate cortex: I. Neurons of laminae 4C and 5A

J Comp Neurol. 1987 Mar 1;257(1):60-92. doi: 10.1002/cne.902570106.


A study has been made, using Golgi preparations, of the organization of neurons with smooth or sparsely spined dendrites, here called local circuit neurons, of the macaque monkey primary visual cortex. Since these neurons include those responsible for inhibitory circuitry of the cortex, a better understanding of their anatomical organization is essential to concepts of functional organization of the region. This account describes those neurons found with cell body and major dendritic spread within the thalamic recipient zone of lamina 4C and its border zone with lamina 5A. The neurons are grouped firstly in terms of in which laminar division the soma occurred--4C beta, 4C alpha or the border zone of 5A-4C beta--and secondly, into varieties on the basis of the interlaminar projection patterns of their axons. Most, if not all, of the local circuit neurons of these divisions have interlaminar axon projections as well as an arbor local to their cell body and dendritic field. These interlaminar projections are highly specific, targeting from one to five laminar divisions depending on the variety of neuron; on this basis 17 varieties of local circuit neuron are described. While the number of varieties appears dauntingly large in terms of understanding the functional circuitry of the region, the clear-cut organization of the interlaminar links may provide clues as to the information processing that concerns each neuron. The local circuit neuron axon projections can be related to a wealth of information already available concerning the laminar organization of afferent axons and efferent cell groups, the organization of spiny neuron intrinsic relays (presumed to be excitatory), and physiological properties of different laminar divisions. It is hoped that the information derived from this study can serve as a guide for correlated physiological-anatomical studies on single cells of the region.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca nemestrina
  • Neural Pathways / cytology
  • Neural Pathways / physiology
  • Neurons / classification*
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Visual Cortex / cytology*
  • Visual Cortex / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / ultrastructure