Contributions of individual layer 2-5 spiny neurons to local circuits in macaque primary visual cortex

Vis Neurosci. 1996 Sep-Oct;13(5):907-22. doi: 10.1017/s0952523800009159.


We studied excitatory local circuits in the macaque primary visual cortex (VI) to investigate their relationships to the magnocellular (M) and parvocellular (P) streams. Sixty-two intracellularly labeled spiny neurons in layers 2-5 were analyzed. We made detailed observations of the laminar and columnar specificity of axonal arbors and noted correlations with dendritic arbors. We find evidence for considerable mixing of M and P streams by the local circuitry in VI. Such mixing is provided by neurons in the primary geniculate recipient layer 4C, as well as by neurons in both the supragranular and infragranular layers. We were also interested in possible differences in the axonal projections of neurons with different dendritic morphologies. We found that layer 4B spiny stellate and pyramidal neurons have similar axonal arbors. However, we identified two types of layer 5 pyramidal neuron. The majority have a conventional pyramidal dendritic morphology, a dense axonal arbor in layers 2.4B, and do not project to the white matter. Layer 5 projection neurons have an unusual "backbranching" dendritic morphology (apical dendritic branches arc downward rather than upward) and weak or no axonal arborization in layers 2-4B, but have long horizontal axonal projections in layer 5B. We find no strong projection from layer 5 pyramidal neurons to layer 6. In macaque V1 there appears to be no single source of strong local input to layer 6; only a minority of cells in layers 2-5 have axonal branches in layer 6 and these are sparse. Our results suggest that local circuits in V1 mediate interactions between M and P input that are complex and not easily incorporated into a simple framework.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axons / physiology
  • Dendrites / physiology
  • Electron Transport Complex IV / metabolism
  • Female
  • Immunoenzyme Techniques
  • Lysine / analogs & derivatives
  • Macaca radiata
  • Male
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Pyramidal Cells / anatomy & histology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology*
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology*


  • Electron Transport Complex IV
  • biocytin
  • Lysine