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J Comp Neurol. 1996 Jun 24;370(2):173-90.

Overlapping and nonoverlapping cortical projections to cortex of the superior temporal sulcus in the rhesus monkey: double anterograde tracer studies.

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Department of Psychiatry and Neurology, Tulane University School of Medicine, New Orleans, Louisiana 70112, USA.


To examine how fibers from functionally distinct cortical zones interrelate within their target areas of the superior temporal sulcus (STS) in the rhesus monkey, separate anterograde tracers were injected in two different regions of the same hemisphere known to project to the STS. Paired injections were placed in dorsal prearcuate cortex and the caudal inferior parietal lobule (IPL), interconnected regions that are part of a hypothesized distributed network concerned with visuospatial analysis or directed attention; in a presumed auditory region of the superior temporal gyrus (STG) and in extrastriate visual cortex, the caudal IPL and lower rim of the intraparietal sulcus; and in dorsal prearcuate cortex and the STG. Overlapping and nonoverlapping projections were then examined in STS visual and polysensory areas. Prefrontal and parietal fibers directly overlapped extensively in area MST and all subdivisions of presumed polysensory cortex (areas TPOc, TPOi, and TPOr), although nonoverlapping connections were also found. Although STG and IPL fibers targeted all TPO subdivisions, connections were to nonoverlapping, but often adjacent, columns. Paired prefrontal and STG injections revealed largely nonoverlapping vertical columns of connections but substantial overlap within layers VI and I or areas TPOc and TPOi. The findings suggest that area TPO contains differently connected modules that may maintain at least initial segregation of visual versus auditory inputs. Other modules within area TPO receive directly converging input from the posterior parietal and the prefrontal cortices and may participate in a distributed cortical network concerned with visuospatial functions.

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