Extensive Connectivity Between the Medial Pulvinar and the Cortex Revealed in the Marmoset Monkey

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The medial pulvinar (PM) is a multimodal associative thalamic nucleus, recently evolved in primates. PM participates in integrative and modulatory functions, including directed attention, and consistently exhibits alterations in disorders such as schizophrenia and autism. Despite essential cognitive functions, the cortical inputs to the PM have not been systematically investigated. To date, less than 20 cortices have been demonstrated to project to PM. The goal of this study was to establish a comprehensive map of the cortical afferents to PM in the marmoset monkey. Using a magnetic resonance imaging-guided injection approach, we reveal 62 discrete cortices projecting to the adult marmoset PM. We confirmed previously reported connections and identified further projections from discrete cortices across the temporal, parietal, retrosplenial-cingulate, prefrontal, and orbital lobes. These regions encompass areas recipient of PM efferents, demonstrating the reciprocity of the PM-cortical connectivity. Moreover, our results indicate that PM neurones projecting to distinct cortices are intermingled and form multimodal cell clusters. This microunit organization, believed to facilitate cross-modal integration, contrasts with the large functional subdivisions usually observed in thalamic nuclei. Altogether, we provide the first comprehensive map of PM cortical afferents, an essential stepping stone in expanding our knowledge of PM and its function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1797-1812
Number of pages16
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • connectivity
  • cortex
  • neural tracing
  • nonhuman primate
  • pulvinar

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