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The distribution and morphology of LGN K pathway axons within the layers and CO blobs of owl monkey V1

  • Y. Ding (a1) and V.A. Casagrande (a1) (a2)


The lateral geniculate nucleus (LGN) of primates contains three classes of relay cells, the magnocellular (M), parvocellular (P), and koniocellular (K) cells. At present, very little is known about either the structure or function of the K relay cells in New or Old World monkeys (simian primates). In monkeys, K cells are located between the main LGN layers and adjacent to the optic tract. For convenience, these intercalated cell layers are numbered K1-K4 starting closest to the optic tract with K1. The objective of this study was to examine the details of K axon morphology in the primary visual cortex (V1) of owl monkeys and to determine if different K layers give rise to distinct axon types. For this purpose, injections of WGA-HRP or PHA-L were made into specific K LGN layers and the distribution and morphology of the resulting labeled axons were analyzed. Injections of fluorescent tracers also were made within the superficial layers of V1 to further document connections via analysis of the patterns of retrogradely labeled cells in the LGN. Our main finding is that K axons in owl monkeys terminate as delicate focused arbors within single cytochrome oxidase (CO) blob columns in cortical layer III and within cortical layer I. Overall, the morphology of the K axons in these monkeys is quite similar to what we described previously for K geniculocortical axons in the distantly related bush baby (prosimian primate), suggesting that the basic features of this pathway are common to all primates. Our results also provide evidence that the axon arbors from different K layers are morphologically distinct; axons from LGN layer K1 project mainly to cortical layer I, while axons from LGN layer K3 chiefly terminate in cortical layer III. Taken together, these results imply that the basic features of axons within the K pathway are conserved across primates, and that the K axons from different K layers are likely to differ in function based upon their different morphologies.



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The distribution and morphology of LGN K pathway axons within the layers and CO blobs of owl monkey V1

  • Y. Ding (a1) and V.A. Casagrande (a1) (a2)


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