Published online by Cambridge University Press: 02 June 2009
The bidirectional axonal transport capabilities of the horseradish peroxidase (HRP) technique facilitated the study of the frontal-eye-field (FEF) input and pretectal output of two regions of extrastriate preoccipital cortex (POC). Following horseradish peroxidase (HRP) gel implants into the middle and dorsal POC in two rhesus monkeys, the middle POC implant demonstrated retrograde frontal cortical labeling largely restricted to the inferior frontal eye field (iFEF) and adjacent inferior prefrontal convexity, whereas the dorsal POC implant showed labeling in the caudal ventral bank of the superior ramus of the arcuate sulcus (sas) and middle-to-dorsal region of the rostral bank of the concavity of the arcuate sulcus (dorsal FEF). Prominent anterogradely labeled efferent preoccipital projections were observed to the ipsilateral pretectal olivary nucleus (PON) and to a lesser extent the anterior pretectal nucleus. Although the middle POC case had heavier projections to the lateral PON, the dorsal case projected more heavily to the medial PON. In addition, both implants demonstrated subcortical connections with the lateral and dorsal inferior pulvinar nuclei, central superior lateral thalamic intralaminar nucleus, caudate nucleus, and middle-to-ventral claustrum. However, while the middle POC implant had efferent projections to the superficial superior colliculus (SC), pregeniculate nucleus (PGN), lateral terminal accessory optic nucleus (LTN), and dorsolateral pontine nucleus (DLPN), resembling those previously reported for the middle temporal (MT) visual area (Maunsell & Van Essen, 1982; Ungerleider et al., 1984), the dorsal implant had projections to the lateral intermediate SC, zona incerta (ZI), PGN, a notably lesser projection to the LTN, and basilar pontine projections to the lateral and lateral dorsal pontine subnuclei (not including the extreme dorsolateral DLPN).
These preliminary results suggest that the preoccipital cortex, which reportedly functions in pupillary constriction, accommodation, and convergence, entertains connections with the PON and other visuomotorrelated structures, and thus could act as an intermediary in the pathway between the iFEF and PON, and provide a possible explanation for pupillary effects that occur with stimulation of the FEF (Jampel, 1960) and within the context of other oculomotor activities. The findings shed light on certain differences in connections of middle vs. dorsal POC with visuomotor-related nuclei, and appear to suggest that the middle region, which receives input from the iFEF, has greater access to the optokinetic (OKN) system by virtue of its projection to the LTN, and to the smooth-pursuit system by virtue of its projection to the DLPN.