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Eur J Neurosci. 1994 May 1;6(5):725-36.

Modular organization of human extrastriate visual cortex: evidence from cytochrome oxidase pattern in normal and macular degeneration cases.

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Institut de Physiologie, Lausanne, Switzerland.


The human extrastriate occipital cortex contains several visual areas that are probably analogues of macaque areas V2, V3, VP, V4 and V5. Tracing of callosal connections has led to the anatomical identification of these areas and to the characterization of some of them by cyto- and myeloarchitecture (Clarke and Miklossy, 1990). The pattern of cytochrome oxidase activity in these visual areas is now described in a normal case and in a case of age-related bilateral macular degeneration. In normal cortex, the laminar distribution of cytochrome oxidase activity was similar in V2, V3, VP, V4 and V5; a prominent dark band covered most of layers III and IV, and its upper and lower limits were gradual. In V2, V3, V4 and V5 but not VP, layer II tended to be darker than the infragranular layers. The overall intensity of the staining varied between areas: VP was very light, V2, V3 and V4 were darker, and V5 was very dark. A different, two-band pattern of cytochrome oxidase activity was found in a restricted region of the posterosuperior precuneus. The bilateral age-related macular degeneration had led to a great loss of ganglion cells in the central, but not in the peripheral retinae. The central representation in the lateral geniculate nuclei showed abnormally weak staining for cytochrome oxidase, particularly in the parvocellular layers. In the cortex, the contrast between lightly and darkly stained regions was greater than in the normal case. In particular, V5 was very heavily stained, and in V1 and V2 there were two different types of dark stripes that may represent compartments driven predominantly by the magnocellular system.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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