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Brain Res. 2003 Apr 4;968(1):1-14.

The associative striatum: cortical and thalamic projections to the dorsocentral striatum in rats.

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Department of Physiological Sciences, McKnight Brain Institute, University of Florida, 32610, Gainesville, FL, USA.


Corticostriatal projections to the dorsocentral striatum (DCS) were investigated using retrograde fluorescent axonal tracing. The DCS is of interest because of its role in directed attention and recovery from multimodal hemispatial neglect following cortical lesions of medial agranular cortex (AGm), an association area that is its major source of cortical input. A key finding was that the multimodal posterior parietal cortex (PPC) also contributes substantial input to DCS. This is significant because PPC and AGm are linked by corticocortical connections and are both critical components of the circuitry involved in spatial processing and directed attention. Other cortical areas providing input to DCS include visual association areas, lateral agranular cortex and orbital cortex. These areas also have reciprocal connections with AGm and PPC. Less consistent labeling was seen in somatic sensorimotor areas FL, HL and Par 1. Thalamic afferents to DCS are prominent from the intralaminar, ventrolateral, mediodorsal, ventromedial, laterodorsal (LD) and lateral posterior (LP) nuclei. Collectively, these nuclei constitute the sources of thalamic input to cortical areas AGm and PPC. Nuclei LD and LP are only labeled with injections in dorsal DCS, the site of major input from PPC, and PPC receives its thalamic input from LD and LP. We conclude that DCS receives inputs from cortical and thalamic areas that are themselves linked by corticocortical and thalamocortical connections. These findings support the hypothesis that DCS is a key component of an associative network of cortical, striatal and thalamic regions involved in multimodal processing and directed attention.

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