Topographic organization of the orientation column system in the striate cortex of the tree shrew (Tupaia glis). II. Deoxyglucose mapping

J Comp Neurol. 1980 Aug 1;192(3):549-66. doi: 10.1002/cne.901920312.


The topographic organization of the orientation column system in the tree shrew striate cortex was examined by using 2-deoxyglucose autoradiography to map the cortical sites of increased metabolic activity produced by visual stimulation with stripes of a single orientation. Awake experimental tree shrews (freely moving, restrained, or paralyzed) were given injections of deoxyglucose label and then stimulated with vertical, horizontal, or oblique stripes for 45--75 min. Autoradiographs of coronal sections through the striate cortex revealed regularly spaced radial zones of increased deoxyglucose uptake 150--350 micrometers wide, extending from the cortical surface to the white matter, separated by interzone regions of lower uptake. The radial zones were most densely labeled and distinct in layers I--IIIb and least distinct in layer IV, which was continuously and densely labeled throughout both the radial zone and interzone regions. These radial zones, which were not present in control animals that viewed many orientations, reflect the locations of cortical cells activated by a single stimulus orientation. Reconstructions of the radial zones from serial sections produced maps of the distribution of increased deoxyglucose uptake across striate cortex. The maps reveal a highly organized system of narrow, parallel bands that are slightly wavy and have a mean spacing of 530 micrometers. The band pattern was confirmed in sections cut tangential to the cortical surface and was similar in animals stimulated with either vertical or horizontal stripes; the bands consistently abut the 17--18 border at nearly right angles and extend across the striate cortex in a generally posteromedial direction. These patterns of increased deoxyglucose consumption confirm the anisotropic distribution of orientation-selective cells across the tree shrew striate cortex, suggested in the preceding microelectrode study (Humphrey and Norton, '80). The density distribution of label within the bands further suggests that the anisotropy is due to a system of parallel, somewhat wavy iso-orientation lines arranged roughly perpendicular to the 17--18 border.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Autoradiography
  • Brain Mapping
  • Female
  • Male
  • Neurons / ultrastructure
  • Orientation / physiology*
  • Tupaiidae
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Perception / physiology