Cortico-cortical and cortico-amygdaloid projections of the rat occipital cortex: a Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin study

Neuroscience. 1996 Mar;71(1):37-54. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(95)00416-5.


The efferent projections of the occipital cortex of the rat were investigated using the Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin anterograde tract tracing technique. Particular attention was focused on projections to the amygdala and amygdalopetal cortical areas. The primary visual cortex had projections to the medial and lateral portions of occipital area 2 and other cortical regions, but no projections to the amygdala or amygdalopetal cortical areas. The only occipital area that had direct projections to the amygdala was the most ventral portion of lateral occipital area 2, located just dorsal to temporal area 2. This occipitotemporal junction region, which received projections from secondary visual cortical areas but not from the primary visual cortex, had projections to the lateral nucleus, magnocellular basal nucleus, and lateral capsular subdivision of the central nucleus of the amygdala. Occipital area 2 had projections to seven amygdalopetal cortical regions: temporal area 2, temporal area 3, frontal area 2, ventrolateral orbitofrontal area, occipitotemporal junction region, lateral entorhinal area, and the perirhinal cortex. Projections to the perirhinal cortex targeted regions located adjacent to the parietal cortex and caudal temporal cortex, but not regions adjacent to the rostral temporal cortex. Other cortical regions receiving projections from medial and lateral portions of occipital area 2 included the presubiculum, retrosplenial areas, and caudal portions of the parietal cortical areas 1 and 2. The results of the present investigation, in conjunction with previous anatomical and neurobehavioral studies, support the concept that rodent cortical visual pathways, like those of primates, consist of a dorsal system involved with visuospatial functions and a ventral system involved with object recognition. As in primates, the ventral pathway projects to the temporal-perirhinal region in a cascading manner; only highly processed information from tertiary visual cortical areas reaches the amygdala. Unlike primates, however, cortical areas in the rat brain that receive highly processed visual information appear to be regions of multisensory convergence.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Amygdala / anatomy & histology*
  • Amygdala / cytology
  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebral Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology
  • Efferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Efferent Pathways / cytology
  • Male
  • Occipital Lobe / anatomy & histology*
  • Occipital Lobe / cytology
  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Phytohemagglutinins
  • leukoagglutinins, plants