Subdivisions of auditory cortex and ipsilateral cortical connections of the parabelt auditory cortex in macaque monkeys



Auditory cortex of macaque monkeys can be divided into a core of primary or primary-like areas located on the lower bank of the lateral sulcus, a surrounding narrow belt of associated fields, and a parabelt region just lateral to the belt on the superior temporal gyrus. We determined patterns of ipsilateral cortical connections of the parabelt region by placing injections of four to seven distinguishable tracers in each of five monkeys. Results were related to architectonic subdivisions of auditory cortex in brain sections cut parallel to the surface of artificially flattened cortex (four cases) or cut in the coronal plane (one case). An auditory core was clearly apparent in these sections as a 16- to 20-mm rostrocaudally elongated oval, several millimeters from the lip of the sulcus, that stained darkly for parvalbumin, myelin, and acetylcholinesterase. These features were most pronounced caudally in the cortex assigned to auditory area I, only slightly reduced in the rostral area, and most reduced in the narrower rostral extension we define as the rostrotemporal area. A narrow band of cortex surrounding the core stained more moderately for parvalbumin, acetylcholinesterase, and myelin. Two regions of the caudal belt, the caudomedial area, and the mediolateral area, stained more darkly, especially for parvalbumin. Rostromedial and medial rostrotemporal, regions of the medial belt stained more lightly for parvalbumin than the caudomedial area or the lateral belt. The parabelt region stained less darkly than the core and belt fields. Injections confined to the parabelt region labeled few neurons in the core, but large numbers in parts of the belt, the parabelt, and adjacent portions of the temporal lobe. Injections that encroached on the belt labeled large numbers of neurons in the core and helped define the width of the belt. Caudal injections in the parabelt labeled caudal portions of the belt, rostral injections labeled rostral portions, and both caudal and rostral injections labeled neurons in the rostromedial area of the medial belt. These observations support the concept of dividing the auditory cortex into core, belt, and parabelt; provide evidence for including the rostral area in the core; suggest the existence of as many as seven or eight belt fields; provide evidence for at least two subdivisions of the parabelt; and identify regions of the temporal lobe involved in auditory processing. J. Comp. Neurol. 394:475–495, 1998. © 1998 Wiley-Liss, Inc.