Retinotopic specializations of cortical and thalamic inputs to area MT

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Retinotopic specializations in the ventral visual stream, especially foveal adaptations, provide primates with high-acuity vision in the central visual field. However, visual field specializations have not been studied in the dorsal visual stream, dedicated to processing visual motion and visually guided behaviors. To investigate this, we injected retrograde neuronal tracers occupying the whole visuotopic representation of the middle temporal (MT) visual area in marmoset monkeys and studied the distribution and morphology of the afferent primary visual cortex (V1) projections. Contrary to previous reports, we found a heterogeneous population of V1-MT projecting neurons distributed in layers 3C and 6. In layer 3C, spiny stellate neurons were distributed mainly in foveal representations, while pyramidal morphologies were characteristic of peripheral eccentricities. This primate adaptation of the V1 to MT pathway is arranged in a way that we had not previously understood, with abundant stellate projection neurons in the high-resolution foveal portions, suggesting rapid relay of motion information to visual area MT. We also describe that the medial portion of the inferior pulvinar (PIm), which is the main thalamic input to area MT, shows a retinotopic organization, likely reflecting the importance of this pathway during development and the establishment of area MT topography.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23326-23331
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number46
Publication statusPublished - 12 Nov 2019


  • Nonhuman primate
  • Primary visual cortex
  • Pulvinar
  • Retinotopy
  • Spiny stellate neurons

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