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J Neurosci. 1991 Jan;11(1):168-90.

Organization of visual inputs to the inferior temporal and posterior parietal cortex in macaques.

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Laboratory of Neuropsychology, National Institute of Mental Health, Bethesda, Maryland 20892.


It has been proposed that visual information in the extrastriate cortex is conveyed along 2 major processing pathways, a "dorsal" pathway directed to the posterior parietal cortex, underlying spatial vision, and a "ventral" pathway directed to the inferior temporal cortex, underlying object vision. To determine the relative distributions of cells projecting to the 2 pathways, we injected the posterior parietal and inferior temporal cortex with different fluorescent tracers in 5 rhesus monkeys. The parietal injections included the ventral intraparietal (VIP) and lateral intraparietal (LIP) areas, and the temporal injections included the lateral portions of cytoarchitectonic areas TE and TEO. There was a remarkable segregation of cells projecting to the 2 systems. Inputs to the parietal cortex tended to arise either from areas that have been implicated in spatial or motion analysis or from peripheral field representations in the prestriate cortex. By contrast, inputs to the temporal cortex tended to arise from areas that have been implicated in form and color analysis or from central field representations. Cells projecting to the parietal cortex were found in visual area 2 (V2), but only in the far peripheral representations of both the upper and lower visual field. Likewise, labeled cells found in visual areas 3 (V3) and 4 (V4) were densest in their peripheral representations. Heavy accumulations of labeled cells were found in the dorsal parieto-occipital cortex, including the parieto-occipital (PO) area, part A of V3 (V3A), and the dorsal prelunate area (DP). In the superior temporal sulcus, cells were found within several motion-sensitive areas, including the middle temporal area (MT), the medial superior temporal area (MST), the fundus of the superior temporal area (FST), and the superior temporal polysensory area (STP), as well as within anterior portions of the sulcus whose organization is as yet poorly defined. Cells projecting to areas TE and TEO in the temporal cortex were located within cytoarchitectonic area TG at the temporal pole and cytoarchitectonic areas TF and TH on the parahippocampal gyrus, as well as in noninjected portions of area TE buried within the superior temporal sulcus. In the prestriate cortex, labeled cells were found in V2, V3, and V4, but, in contrast to the loci labeled after parietal injections, those labeled after temporal injections were concentrated in the foveal or central field representations. Although few double-labeled cells were seen, 2 regions containing intermingled parietal- and temporal-projection cells were area V4 and the cortex at the bottom of the anterior superior temporal sulcus.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS).

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