Send to

Choose Destination
J Comp Neurol. 2001 Aug 20;437(2):170-85.

Thalamic terminal morphology and distribution of single corticothalamic axons originating from layers 5 and 6 of the cat motor cortex.

Author information

Department of Physiology, School of Medicine, Tokyo Medical and Dental University, 1-5-45 Yushima, Bunkyo-ku, Tokyo 113-8519, Japan.


We investigated the axonal morphology of single corticothalamic (CT) neurons of the motor cortex (Mx) in the cat thalamus, using a neuronal tracer, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA). After localized injection of BDA into the Mx, labeled CT axons were found ipsilaterally in the thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN), the ventroanterior-ventrolateral complex (VA-VL), the central lateral nucleus (CL), the central medial nucleus, and the centromedian nucleus, but with the primary focus in the VA-VL. The terminals in the VA-VL formed a large laminar cluster, which extended approximately in parallel with the internal medullary lamina. The laminar organization mirrored morphologic features of single CT axons. We reconstructed the trajectories of 25 single CT axons that arose from layer V (16 axons) or layer VI (9 axons) and terminated in the VA-VL. Terminals of single CT axons that originated from both layer V and layer VI were confined within a laminar structure about 700 microm thick, suggesting the existence of laminar input organization in the VA-VL. Otherwise, the two groups of the CT axons showed contrasting features. All of the CT axons derived from layer VI gave rise to a few short collaterals to the TRN and then formed extensive arborization with numerous small, drumstick-like terminals in the VA-VL. On the other hand, the CT axons arising from layer V gave rise to collaterals whose main axons descended into the cerebral peduncle. Each collateral projected to the VA-VL or CL without projection to the TRN and formed a few small clusters of giant terminals. The two groups of CT neurons in the same cortical column had convergent rather than segregated termination in the VA-VL. However, the terminals of layer VI CT neurons were distributed diffusely and widely in the VA-VL, whereas the terminals of layer V CT neurons were much more focused and surrounded by the terminals of the former group. These contrasting features of the two types of CT projections appear to represent their different functional roles in the generation of motor commands and control of movements in the Mx.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Wiley
Loading ...
Support Center