Thalamic afferents emphasize the different functions of macaque precuneate areas

Michela Gamberini, Lauretta Passarelli, Daniele Impieri, Katrina H. Worthy, Kathleen J. Burman, Patrizia Fattori, Claudio Galletti, Marcello G. P. Rosa, Sophia Bakola

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We studied the thalamic afferents to cortical areas in the precuneus using injections of retrograde fluorescent neuronal tracers in four male macaques (Macaca fascicularis). Six injections were within the limits of cytoarchitectural area PGm, one in area 31 and one in area PEci. Precuneate areas shared strong input from the posterior thalamus (lateral posterior nucleus and pulvinar complex) and moderate input from the medial, lateral, and intralaminar thalamic regions. Area PGm received strong connections from the subdivisions of the pulvinar linked to association and visual function (the medial and lateral nuclei), whereas areas 31 and PEci received afferents from the oral division of the pulvinar. All three cytoarchitectural areas also received input from subdivisions of the lateral thalamus linked to motor function (ventral lateral and ventral anterior nuclei), with area PEci receiving additional input from a subdivision linked to somatosensory function (ventral posterior lateral nucleus). Finally, only PGm received substantial limbic association afferents, mainly via the lateral dorsal nucleus. These results indicate that area PGm integrates information from visual association, motor and limbic regions of the thalamus, in line with a hypothesized role in spatial cognition, including navigation. By comparison, dorsal precuneate areas (31 and PEci) are more involved in sensorimotor functions, being akin to adjacent areas of the dorsal parietal cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)853-870
Number of pages18
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2020


  • Dorsal thalamus
  • Lateral posterior nucleus
  • Mediodorsal nucleus
  • Pulvinar
  • Sensorimotor
  • Spatial orientation

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