Visuotopic organisation of striate cortex in the marmoset monkey (Callithrix jacchus)

K. A. Fritsches, M. G P Rosa

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The visuotopic organisation of the primary visual cortex (V1) was studied by extracellular recordings in adult male marmosets (Callithrix jacchus) that were anaesthetised with sufentanil/nitrous oxide and paralysed with pancuronium bromide. Extensive sampling of the occipital region in four individuals and partial coverage of V1 in five others allowed not only the establishment of the normal visuotopy but also the study of interindividual variability. As in other primates, there was a single, continuous map of the contralateral hemifield in V1, with the upper visual quadrant represented ventrally and the lower quadrant represented dorsally. The surface area of V1, which was measured in two-dimensional reconstructions of the cortical surface, varied from 192 to 217 mm 2. There was a marked emphasis on the representation of the foveal and parafoveal visual fields: the representation of the central 5° of the visual field occupied 36-39% of the surface area of V1, whereas the central 10° occupied 57-59%. No asymmetry between the representations of the upper and lower quadrants was apparent. The visual topography of V1 was highly consistent between individuals, relative to both sulcal landmarks and stereotaxic coordinates. The entire contralateral hemifield was represented in V1; in addition, neurones with receptive fields whose borders invaded the ipsilateral hemifield were observed within V1, less than 800 μm from the V1/V2 boundary. The total invasion of the ipsilateral hemifield was less than 0.5° at the centre of the fores but reached 8° at the periphery of the vertical meridian. Our results demonstrate that the organisation of V1 is similar in diurnal New and Old World simians, despite major variations in size, ecological niche, and timing of postnatal development across species.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)264-282
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 29 Aug 1996
Externally publishedYes


  • area 17
  • ipsilateral
  • primates
  • variability
  • visuotopy

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