We have examined the circuitry connecting the posterior parietal cortex with the frontal lobe of rhesus monkeys. HRP-WGA and tritiated amino acids were injected into subdivisions 7m, 7a, 7b, and 7ip of the posterior parietal cortex, and anterograde and retrograde label was recorded within the frontal motor and association cortices. Our main finding is that each subdivision of parietal cortex is connected with a unique set of frontal areas. Thus, area 7m, on the medial parietal surface, is interconnected with the dorsal premotor cortex and the supplementary motor area, including the supplementary eye field. Within the prefrontal cortex, area 7m's connections are with the rostral sector of the frontal eye field (FEF), the dorsal bank of the principal sulcus, and the anterior bank of the inferior arcuate sulcus (Walker's area 45). In contrast, area 7a, on the posterior parietal convexity, is not linked with premotor regions but is heavily interconnected with the rostral FEF in the anterior bank of the superior arcuate sulcus, the dorsolateral prefrontal convexity, the rostral orbitofrontal cortex, area 45, and the fundus and adjacent cortex of the dorsal and ventral banks of the principal sulcus. Area 7b, in the anterior part of the posterior parietal lobule, is interconnected with still a different set of frontal areas, which include the ventral premotor cortex and supplementary motor area, area 45, and the external part of the ventral bank of the principal sulcus. The prominent connections of area 7ip, in the posterior bank of the intraparietal sulcus, are with the supplementary eye field and restricted portions of the ventral premotor cortex, with a wide area of the FEF that includes both its rostral and caudal sectors, and with area 45. All frontoparietal connections are reciprocal, and although they are most prominent within a hemisphere, notable interhemispheric connections are also present.
These findings provide a basis for a parcellation of the classically considered association cortex of the frontal lobe, particularly the cortex of the principal sulcus, into sectors defined by their specific connections with the posterior parietal subdivisions. Moreover, the present findings, together with those of a companion study (Cavada and Goldman-Rakic): J. Comp. Neurol. This issue have allowed us to establish multiple linkages between frontal areas and specific limbic and sensory cortices through the posterior parietal cortex. The net-works thus defined may form part of the neural substrate of parallel distrib-uted processing in the cerebral cortex.