Distribution across cortical areas of neurons projecting to the superior colliculus in new world monkeys



Surprisingly little is known about the proportions of projections of different areas and regions of neocortex to the superior colliculus in primates. To obtain an overview of such projection patterns, we placed a total of 10 injections of retrograde tracers in the superior colliculus of three New World monkeys (Callithrix, Callicebus, and Aotus). Because cortex was flattened and cut parallel to the surface, labeled corticotectal neurons could be accurately located relative to architectonic boundaries and surface features. While there was variability across cases and injection sites, the summed results clearly support several conclusions. One, three well-defined visual areas, V1 (18%), V2 (14%), and MT (11%), contributed nearly half of the total of labeled cells. Two, several other visual areas (V3, DL, DM, and FST) that are early in the processing hierarchy provided another fifth of the total. Three, inferior temporal visual areas of the ventral stream provided only minor projections. Four, visuomotor fields (FEF, FV, cortex in the region of SEF, and posterior parietal cortex) contained less than 10% of the labeled neurons. Five, few labeled neurons were in auditory or somatosensory areas. The results indicate that cortical inputs to the superior colliculus originate predominantly from early visual areas rather than from multimodal or visuomotor areas. © 2005 Wiley-Liss, Inc.