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Keywords:

  • visual cortex;
  • callosal patterns;
  • periodicity

Abstract

The total pattern of visual callosal connections was studied in the grey squirrel by using the Fink-Heimer technique for axonal and terminal degeneration and the autoradiographic and horseradish peroxidase techniques for axonal transport. The pattern of terminations was correlated with architectonic landmarks.

The results show that callosal terminations are distributed in a complex fashion within the visual cortical areas. The major terminations form a band in area 17 along its border with area 18. This band is contiguous rostrally with the callosal terminations in area L that extend caudomedially onto the medial wall of the hemisphere. Caudally the band in area 17 wraps around the ventral aspect of the occipital pole and ends medially at the level of the hippocampus. This band exhibits a distinct periodicity in the density of terminations. The callosal terminations in area 18 are usually found along the lateral and medial borders and are concentrated in discrete patches. The pattern in area 19 exhibits two or three primary patches and only loosely corresponds to the borders of the area. Few callosal terminations are found in area 19p and the posterior temporal area, Tp, while the intermediate temporal area, Ti, receives an extensive input.

The laminar distribution of callosal terminations is different in each area studied. Characteristically, area 18 has dense terminations in layers III, II, and the inner one-half of layer I, with less dense terminations in layers V and VI, and sparse terminations in layer IV. Area 17 has a similar pattern in the supragranular and infragranular layers but also has dense terminations in layer IV. The patterns in area 19 are intermediate between these extremes but are more similar to those in area 17.

The cells that give rise to the callosal projections were found primarily in layers III and V and occasionally in layers II, IV, and VI. The distribution of the callosal efferent neurons is more extensive than the areas of terminations.

The distribution of callosal terminations suggests that the organization of visual cortical areas in the grey squirrel is more complex than had been previously recognized. This finding is discussed with reference to the general organization of the mammalian visual cortical areas, and a need for more extensive analyses of visual cortical areas in the grey squirrel, particularly with respect to extrastriate visual areas, is indicated.