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Cortical and thalamic connections of the parietal ventral somatosensory area in marmoset monkeys (Callithrix jacchus)



Microelectrode mapping methods were used to define the parietal ventral somatosensory area (PV) on the upper bank of the lateral sulcus in five marmosets (Callithrix jacchus). In the same animals, neuroanatomical tracers were placed into electrophysiologically identified sites in PV and/or the second somatosensory area (S2). Foci of anterograde and retrograde label were related to electrophysiological maps of cortical areas and cortical and thalamic architecture. The results lead to the following conclusions: (1) Multiunit recordings from cortex on the upper bank of the lateral sulcus demonstrate that PV is somatotopically organized, with the face representation adjoining area 3b and the hindlimb and tail representations away from this border in cortex deep on the upper bank of the lateral sulcus. The forelimb representation is caudal in PV adjacent to the S2 forelimb representation. The body surface representation in PV approximates a mirror image of that in S2; (2) Areas PV and S2 are less myelinated and have less cytochrome oxidase enzyme activity than area 3b; (3) The ventroposterior inferior nucleus (VPI) of the thalamus provides the major somatosensory projections to PV. PV is reciprocally connected with VPI and anterior pulvinar; (4) PV has ipsilateral cortical connections with areas 3a, 3b, 1, and M1 and higher order somatosensory fields, and at least most of these connections are somatotopically matched; and (5) Callosal connections of PV are with S2 and PV of the other cerebral hemisphere. These results further establish PV as one of at least four somatosensory areas of the lateral sulcus of primates. J. Comp. Neurol. 443:168–182, 2002. © 2002 Wiley-Liss, Inc.