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J Neurosci. 2001 Aug 15;21(16):6283-91.

The inferior parietal lobule is the target of output from the superior colliculus, hippocampus, and cerebellum.

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  • 1Research Service, Veterans Administration Medical Center, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15261, USA.


The inferior parietal lobule (IPL) is a functionally and anatomically heterogeneous region that is concerned with multiple aspects of sensory processing and sensorimotor integration. Although considerable information is available about the corticocortical connections to the IPL, much less is known about the origin and importance of subcortical inputs to this cortical region. To examine this issue, we used retrograde transneuronal transport of the McIntyre-B strain of herpes simplex virus type 1 (HSV1) to identify the second-order neurons in subcortical nuclei that project to the IPL. Four monkeys (Cebus apella) received injections of HSV1 into three different subregions of the IPL. Injections into a portion of the lateral intraparietal area labeled second-order neurons primarily in the superficial (visual) layers of the superior colliculus. Injections of HSV1 into a portion of area 7a labeled many second-order neurons in the CA1 region of the hippocampus. In contrast, virus injections within a portion of area 7b labeled second-order neurons in posterior regions of the dentate nucleus of the cerebellum. These observations have some important functional implications. The IPL is known to be involved in oculomotor and attentional mechanisms, the establishment of maps of extrapersonal space, and the adaptive recalibration of eye-hand coordination. Our findings suggest that these functions are subserved by distinct subcortical systems from the superior colliculus, hippocampus, and cerebellum. Furthermore, the finding that each system appears to target a separate subregion of the IPL provides an anatomical substrate for understanding the functional heterogeneity of the IPL.

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