The early maturation of visual cortical area MT is dependent on input from the retinorecipient medial portion of the inferior pulvinar

Claire E Warner, William Kwan, James A Bourne

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87 Citations (Scopus)


The hierarchical development of the primate visual cortex and associated streams remains somewhat of a mystery. While anatomical, physiological, and psychological studies have demonstrated the early maturation of the dorsal where / how or motion cortical stream, little is known about the circuitry responsible. The influence of the retinogeniculostriate pathway has been investigated, but little attention has been paid to the role of two more recently described disynaptic retinothalamic projections to the middle temporal (MT) area, an early maturing dorsal stream cortical field, and which bypass the primary visual cortex (V1). These pathways are via the koniocellular layers of the lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) and the medial portion of the inferior pulvinar (PIm). Both have been demonstrated in the adult nonhuman primate, but their influence during the maturation of the visual cortex is unknown. We used a combination of neural tracing and immunohistochemistry to follow the development of LGN and PIm inputs to area MT in the marmoset monkey. Our results revealed that the early maturation of area MT is likely due to the disynaptic retinopulvinar input and not the retinogeniculate input or the direct projection from V1. Furthermore, from soon after birth to adulthood, there was a dynamic shift in the ratio of input from these three structures to area MT, with an increasing dominance of the direct V1 afference.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17073 - 17085
Number of pages13
JournalThe Journal of Neuroscience
Issue number48
Publication statusPublished - 2012

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