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J Comp Neurol. 2001 Dec 10;441(2):134-47.

Axon collaterals of Meynert cells diverge over large portions of area V1 in the macaque monkey.

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Laboratory for Cortical Organization and Systematics, RIKEN Brain Science Institute, Wako-shi, Saitama 351-0198, Japan.


Patchy intrinsic connections, originating mainly from horizontal collaterals of pyramidal neurons, have been demonstrated in area V1 and many other cortical areas. In this article, we identify a network of intrinsic connections concentrated in layer 6 of area V1. These are visualized by extracellular injections of anterograde tracers in V1, which label small clusters of large terminal boutons in layer 6, in conjunction with thick axon segments. These segments can be traced back to infragranular Meynert cells (n = 10), which are retrogradely labeled from the injections. By using serial section analysis, we identified the following features of this distinctive system of Meynert cell collaterals: (1) terminal clusters are relatively small (<100 microm); (2) each cluster has a small number of rather large boutons (up to 3.0 microm); (3) there is typically a termination-free zone in the immediate vicinity (0.5-2.0 mm) of the cell body; (4) a single neuron has multiple branches that can extend up to 8.0 mm from the soma; and (5) the collaterals are concentrated in layer 6. These features are different from those of horizontal intrinsic connections in the supragranular layers of area V1. They are consistent with fast dynamics and a possible role in wide-field motion processing, such as has been associated with Meynert cells from other studies.

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