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1.  Cortical projections to the superior colliculus in tree shrews (Tupaia belangeri) 
The Journal of comparative neurology  2013;521(7):1614-1632.
The visuomotor functions of the superior colliculus depend not only on direct inputs from the retina, but also on inputs from neocortex. As mammals vary in the areal organization of neocortex, and in the organization of the number of visual and visuomotor areas, patterns of corticotectal projections vary. Primates in particular have a large number of visual areas projecting to the superior colliculus. As tree shrews are close relatives of primates, and they are also highly visual, we studied the distribution of cortical neurons projecting to the superior colliculus by injecting anatomical tracers into the colliculus. Since projections from visuotopically organized visual areas are expected to match the visuotopy of the superior colliculus, injections at different retinotopic locations in the superior colliculus provide information about the locations and organization of topographic areas in extrastriate cortex. Small injections in the superior colliculus labeled neurons in locations within areas 17 (V1) and 18 (V2) that are consistent with the known topography of these areas and the superior colliculus. In addition, the separate locations of clusters of labeled cells in temporal visual cortex provide evidence for five or more topographically organized areas. Injections that included deeper layers of the superior colliculus also labeled neurons in medial frontal cortex, likely in premotor cortex. Only occasional labeled neurons were observed in somatosensory or auditory cortex. Regardless of tracer injection location, we found that unlike primates, a substantial projection to the superior colliculus from posterior parietal cortex is not a characteristic of tree shrews.
PMCID: PMC3604183  PMID: 23124770
superior colliculus; tectum; cortex; evolution
2.  Projections of the superior colliculus to the pulvinar in prosimian galagos (Otolemur garnettii) and VGLUT2 staining of the visual pulvinar 
The Journal of comparative neurology  2013;521(7):1664-1682.
An understanding of the organization of the pulvinar complex in prosimian primates has been somewhat elusive due to the lack of clear architectonic divisions. In the current study, we revealed features of the organization of the pulvinar complex in galagos by examining superior colliculus (SC) projections to this structure and comparing them with staining patterns of the vesicular glutamate transporter, VGLUT2. Cholera toxin subunit ╬▓ (CTB), fluroruby (FR) and wheat germ agglutinin conjugated with horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) were placed in topographically different locations within the SC. Our results showed multiple topographically organized patterns of projections from the SC to several divisions of the pulvinar complex. At least two topographically distributed projections were found within the lateral region of the pulvinar complex, and two less obvious topographical projection patterns were found within the caudomedial region, in zones that stain darkly for VGLUT2. The results, considered in relation to recent observations in tree shrews and squirrels, suggest that parts of the organizational scheme of the pulvinar complex in primates are present in rodents and other mammals.
PMCID: PMC3579010  PMID: 23124867
primate; tectum; visual system; thalamus; evolution
3.  Intrinsic Signal Optical Imaging Evidence for Dorsal V3 in the Prosimian Galago (Otolemur garnettii) 
The Journal of comparative neurology  2012;520(18):4254-4274.
Currently, we lack consensus regarding the organization along the anterior border of dorsomedial V2 in primates. Previous studies suggest that this region could be either the dorsomedial area, characterized by both an upper and a lower visual field representation, or the dorsal aspect of area V3, which only contains a lower visual field representation. We examined these proposals by using optical imaging of intrinsic signals to investigate this region in the prosimian galago (Otole-mur garnettii). Galagos represent the prosimian radiation of surviving primates; cortical areas that bear strong resemblances across members of primates provide a strong argument for their early origin and conserved existence. Based on our mapping of horizontal and vertical meridian representations, visuotopy, and orientation preference, we find a clear lower field representation anterior to dorsal V2 but no evidence of any upper field representation. We also show statistical differences in orientation preference patches between V2 and V3. We additionally supplement our imaging results with electrode array data that reveal differences in the average spatial frequency preference, average temporal frequency preference, and sizes of the receptive fields between V1, V2, and V3. The lack of upper visual field representation along with the differences between the neighboring visual areas clearly distinguish the region anterior to dorsal V2 from earlier visual areas and argue against a DM that lies along the dorsomedial border of V2. We submit that the region of the cortex in question is the dorsal aspect of V3, thus strengthening the possibility that V3 is conserved among primates.
PMCID: PMC3593310  PMID: 22628051
V3; galago; imaging; electrode; DM; orientation
4.  Cortical Connections of the Visual Pulvinar Complex in Prosimian Galagos (Otolemur garnetti) 
The pulvinar complex of prosimian primates is not as architectonically differentiated as that of anthropoid primates. Thus, the functional subdivisions of the complex have been more difficult to determine. In the present study, we related patterns of connections of cortical visual areas (primary visual area, V1; secondary visual area, V2; and middle temporal visual area, MT) as well as the superior colliculus of the visual midbrain, with subdivisions of the pulvinar complex of prosimian galagos (Otolemur garnetti) that were revealed in brain sections processed for cell bodies (Nissl), cytochrome oxidase, or myelin. As in other primates, the architectonic methods allowed us to distinguish the lateral pulvinar (PL) and inferior pulvinar (PI) as major divisions of the visual pulvinar. The connection patterns further allowed us to divide PI into a large central nucleus (PIc), a medial nucleus (PIm), and a posterior nucleus (PIp). Both PL and PIc have separate topographic patterns of connections with V1 and V2. A third, posterior division of PI, PIp, does not appear to project to V1 and V2 and is further distinguished by receiving inputs from the superior colliculus. All these subdivisions of PI project to MT. The evidence suggests that PL of galagos contains a single, large nucleus, as in monkeys, and that PI may have only three subdivisions, rather than the four subdivisions of monkeys. In addition, the cortical projections of PI nuclei are more widespread than those in monkeys. Thus, the pulvinar nuclei in prosimian primates and anthropoid primates have evolved along somewhat different paths.
PMCID: PMC3710459  PMID: 19795374
superior colliculus; visual cortex; middle temporal area; area 17; area 18; primate evolution; thalamus
5.  Cortical Projections to the Superior Colliculus in Prosimian Galagos (Otolemur garnetti) 
The Journal of comparative neurology  2012;520(9):2002-2020.
The superior colliculus (SC) is a key structure within the extrageniculate pathway of visual information to cortex and is highly involved in visuomotor functions. Previous studies in anthropoid primates have shown that superficial layers of the SC receive direct inputs from various visual cortical areas such as V1, V2, and middle temporal (MT), while deeper layers receive direct inputs from visuomotor cortical areas within the posterior parietal cortex and the frontal eye fields. Very little is known, however, about the corticotectal projections in prosimian primates. In the current study we investigated the sources of cortical inputs to the SC in prosimian galagos (Otolemur garnetti) using retrograde anatomical tracers placed into the SC. The superficial layers of the SC in galagos received the majority of their inputs from early visual areas and visual areas within the MT complex. Yet, surprisingly, MT itself had relatively few corticotectal projections. Deeper layers of the SC received direct projections from visuomotor areas including the posterior parietal cortex and premotor cortex. However, relatively few corticotectal projections originated within the frontal eye fields. While prosimian galagos resemble other primates in having early visual areas project to the superficial layers of the SC, with higher visuomotor regions projecting to deeper layers, the results suggest that MT and frontal eye field projections to the SC were sparse in early primates, remained sparse in present-day prosimian primates, and became more pronounced in anthropoid primates.
PMCID: PMC3687588  PMID: 22173729
visual cortex; FEF; LIP; MT; primates
6.  Superior Colliculus Connections With Visual Thalamus in Gray Squirrels (Sciurus carolinensis): Evidence for Four Subdivisions Within the Pulvinar Complex 
The Journal of comparative neurology  2011;519(6):1071-1094.
As diurnal rodents with a well-developed visual system, squirrels provide a useful comparison of visual system organization with other highly visual mammals such as tree shrews and primates. Here, we describe the projection pattern of gray squirrel superior colliculus (SC) with the large and well-differentiated pulvinar complex. Our anatomical results support the conclusion that the pulvinar complex of squirrels consists of four distinct nuclei. The caudal (C) nucleus, distinct in cytochrome oxidase (CO), acetylcholinesterase (AChE), and vesicular glutamate transporter-2 (VGluT2) preparations, received widespread projections from the ipsilateral SC, although a crude retinotopic organization was suggested. The caudal nucleus also received weaker projections from the contralateral SC. The caudal nucleus also projects back to the ipsilateral SC. Lateral (RLl) and medial (RLm) parts of the previously defined rostral lateral pulvinar (RL) were architectonically distinct, and each nucleus received its own retinotopic pattern of focused ipsilateral SC projections. The SC did not project to the rostral medial (RM) nucleus of the pulvinar. SC injections also revealed ipsilateral connections with the dorsal and ventral lateral geniculate nuclei, nuclei of the pretectum, and nucleus of the brachium of the inferior colliculus and bilateral connections with the parabigeminal nuclei. Comparisons with other rodents suggest that a variously named caudal nucleus, which relays visual inputs from the SC to temporal visual cortex, is common to all rodents and possibly most mammals. RM and RL divisions of the pulvinar complex also appear to have homologues in other rodents.
PMCID: PMC3686314  PMID: 21344403
superior colliculus; pulvinar; dorsal thalamus; lateral geniculate nucleus; rodents
7.  Cortical and Subcortical Connections of V1 and V2 in Early Postnatal Macaque Monkeys 
Connections of primary (V1) and secondary (V2) visual areas were revealed in macaque monkeys ranging in age from 2 to 16 weeks by injecting small amounts of cholera toxin subunit B (CTB). Cortex was flattened and cut parallel to the surface to reveal injection sites, patterns of labeled cells, and patterns of cytochrome oxidase (CO) staining. Projections from the lateral geniculate nucleus and pulvinar to V1 were present at 4 weeks of age, as were pulvinar projections to thin and thick CO stripes in V2. Injections into V1 in 4- and 8-week-old monkeys labeled neurons in V2, V3, middle temporal area (MT), and dorsolateral area (DL)/V4. Within V1 and V2, labeled neurons were densely distributed around the injection sites, but formed patches at distances away from injection sites. Injections into V2 labeled neurons in V1, V3, DL/V4, and MT of monkeys 2-, 4-, and 8-weeks of age. Injections in thin stripes of V2 preferentially labeled neurons in other V2 thin stripes and neurons in the CO blob regions of V1. A likely thick stripe injection in V2 at 4 weeks of age labeled neurons around blobs. Most labeled neurons in V1 were in superficial cortical layers after V2 injections, and in deep layers of other areas. Although these features of adult V1 and V2 connectivity were in place as early as 2 postnatal weeks, labeled cells in V1 and V2 became more restricted to preferred CO compartments after 2 weeks of age.
PMCID: PMC3673566  PMID: 21800316
V1; V2; pulvinar; lateral geniculate nucleus; macaque monkey
8.  Cellular Scaling Rules for Primate Spinal Cords 
Brain, Behavior and Evolution  2010;76(1):45-59.
The spinal cord can be considered a major sensorimotor interface between the body and the brain. How does the spinal cord scale with body and brain mass, and how are its numbers of neurons related to the number of neurons in the brain across species of different body and brain sizes? Here we determine the cellular composition of the spinal cord in eight primate species and find that its number of neurons varies as a linear function of cord length, and accompanies body mass raised to an exponent close to 1/3. This relationship suggests that the extension, mass and number of neurons that compose the spinal cord are related to body length, rather than to body mass or surface. Moreover, we show that although brain mass increases linearly with cord mass, the number of neurons in the brain increases with the number of neurons in the spinal cord raised to the power of 1.7. This faster addition of neurons to the brain than to the spinal cord is consistent with current views on how larger brains add complexity to the processing of environmental and somatic information.
PMCID: PMC2980815  PMID: 20926855
Allometry; Number of neurons; Evolution; Connectivity

Results 1-8 (8)