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Cereb Cortex. 2006 Sep;16(9):1361-75. Epub 2005 Nov 16.

Quantitative analysis of the corticocortical projections to the middle temporal area in the marmoset monkey: evolutionary and functional implications.

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Department of Physiology and Monash University Centre for Brain and Behaviour, Monash University, Victoria 3800, Australia.


The connections of the middle temporal area (MT) were investigated in the marmoset, one of the smallest primates. Reflecting the predictions of studies that modeled cortical allometric growth and development, we found that in adult marmosets MT is connected to a more extensive network of cortical areas than in larger primates, including consistent connections with retrosplenial, cingulate, and parahippocampal areas and more widespread connections with temporal, frontal, and parietal areas. Quantitative analyses reveal that MT receives the majority of its afferents from other motion-sensitive areas in the temporal lobe and from the occipitoparietal transition areas, each of these regions containing approximately 30% of the projecting cells. Projections from the primary visual area (V1) and the second visual area (V2) account for approximately 20% of projecting neurons, whereas "ventral stream" and higher-order association areas form quantitatively minor projections. A relationship exists between the percentage of supragranular layer neurons forming the projections from different areas and their putative hierarchical rank. However, this relationship is clearer for projections from ventral stream areas than it is for projections from dorsal stream or frontal areas. These results provide the first quantitative data on the connections of MT and extend current understanding of the relationship between cortical anatomy and function in evolution.

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