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Keywords:

  • dorsal visual stream;
  • extrastriate cortex;
  • superior parietal lobule

Abstract

The anterior wall of the parieto-occipital sulcus (POs) of the macaque monkey, classically considered as part of Brodmann's area 19, contains two functionally distinct areas: a ventral, purely visual area, V6, and a dorsal area, V6A, containing visual neurons and neurons related to the control of arm movements. The aim of this study was to establish whether areas V6 and V6A, so far identified only on a functional basis, have a cytoarchitectonic counterpart. The cytoarchitectonic analysis of 13 hemispheres from ten macaque brains, cut along different planes of section, showed that the anterior wall of the POs contains three distinct areas. One is located in the ventralmost part of the wall, another in the dorsalmost part of the wall, and the third occupies an intermediate position. The ventralmost region displays architectonic features typical of the occipital cytoarchitectonic domain, whereas the two dorsal areas display architectonic features typical of the posterior parietal cortex. Analysis of myeloarchitecture and of the distribution of SMI-32 immunoreactivity confirmed the cytoarchitectonic parcellation. Correlation of cytoarchitectonic maps with functional and hodological data strongly suggests that the ventral region corresponds to area V6, whereas the other two regions correspond to different subsectors of V6A, here named V6Av and V6Ad, respectively. The present data are in line with electrophysiological and hodological data, which suggest that area V6 is a classic extrastriate area, whereas V6A is an area of the posterior parietal cortex. They also suggest that V6A includes two separate cortical subdivisions, a view supported by preliminary functional and hodological data that needs further confirmation.