Marmosets: a promising model for probing the neural mechanisms underlying complex visual networks such as the frontal–parietal network

Joanita F. D’Souza, Nicholas S.C. Price, Maureen A. Hagan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview ArticleResearchpeer-review

7 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

The technology, methodology and models used by visual neuroscientists have provided great insights into the structure and function of individual brain areas. However, complex cognitive functions arise in the brain due to networks comprising multiple interacting cortical areas that are wired together with precise anatomical connections. A prime example of this phenomenon is the frontal–parietal network and two key regions within it: the frontal eye fields (FEF) and lateral intraparietal area (area LIP). Activity in these cortical areas has independently been tied to oculomotor control, motor preparation, visual attention and decision-making. Strong, bidirectional anatomical connections have also been traced between FEF and area LIP, suggesting that the aforementioned visual functions depend on these inter-area interactions. However, advancements in our knowledge about the interactions between area LIP and FEF are limited with the main animal model, the rhesus macaque, because these key regions are buried in the sulci of the brain. In this review, we propose that the common marmoset is the ideal model for investigating how anatomical connections give rise to functionally-complex cognitive visual behaviours, such as those modulated by the frontal–parietal network, because of the homology of their cortical networks with humans and macaques, amenability to transgenic technology, and rich behavioural repertoire. Furthermore, the lissencephalic structure of the marmoset brain enables application of powerful techniques, such as array-based electrophysiology and optogenetics, which are critical to bridge the gaps in our knowledge about structure and function in the brain.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3007-3022
Number of pages16
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Volume226
Issue number9
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021

Keywords

  • Frontal cortex
  • Marmosets
  • Neural circuits
  • Optogenetics
  • Parietal cortex
  • Saccades
  • Visual attention

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