Thalamo-cortical projections to the macaque superior parietal lobule areas PEc and PE

Daniele Impieri, Michela Gamberini, Lauretta Passarelli, Marcello G. P. Rosa, Claudio Galletti

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The exposed surface of the superior parietal lobule in macaque brain contains two architectonically defined areas named PEc and PE. The aim of the present study is the characterization of thalamic afferents of these two areas. For this purpose, retrograde neuronal tracers were injected, or placed in crystal form, in areas PEc and PE. We found that the two areas show a similar pattern of thalamic inputs, mainly originating from Lateral Posterior (LP), Pulvinar (Pul), Ventral Posterior Lateral (VPL), and Ventral Lateral (VL) nuclei, all structures known to be involved in visual, somatosensory, and/or sensorimotor processing. Minor afferents were observed from the Centromedian/Parafascicular complex (CM/PF), Central Lateral (CL), Ventral Anterior (VA), and Medial Dorsal (MD) nuclei. LP and VL were more strongly connected to PEc than to PE, while the other main thalamic inputs to the two areas showed slight differences in strength. The part of the Pul mostly connected with areas PEc and PE was the Medial Pul. No labeled cells were found in the retinotopically organized Lateral and Inferior Pul. In the somatotopically organized VPL and VL nuclei, labeled neurons were mainly found in regions likely to correspond to the trunk and limb representations (in particular the legs). These findings are in line with the sensory-motor nature of areas PEc and PE, and with their putative functional roles, being them suggested to be involved in the preparation and control of limb interaction with the environment, and in locomotion.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1041-1056
Number of pages16
JournalThe Journal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 15 Apr 2018


  • connectivity
  • macaque
  • RRID: SCR_006260
  • sensory-motor input
  • somatosensory
  • superior parietal lobule
  • thalamus

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