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Previous immunohistochemical studies combined with retrograde tracing in macaque monkeys have demonstrated that corticocortical projections can be differentiated by their content of neurofilament protein. The present study analyzed the distribution of nonphosphorylated neurofilament protein in callosally projecting neurons located at the V1/V2 border. All of the retrogradely labeled neurons were located in layer III at the V1/V2 border and at an immediately adjacent zone of area V2. A quantitative analysis showed that the vast majority (almost 95%) of these interhemispheric projection neurons contain neurofilament protein immunoreactivity. This observation differs from data obtained in other sets of callosal connections, including homotypical interhemispheric projections in the prefrontal, temporal, and parietal association cortices, that were found to contain uniformly low proportions of neurofilament protein-immunoreactive neurons. Comparably, highly variable proportions of neurofilament protein-containing neurons have been reported in intrahemispheric corticocortical pathways, including feedforward and feedback visual connections. These results indicate that neurofilament protein is a prominent neurochemical feature that identifies a particular population of interhemispheric projection neurons at the V1/V2 border, and suggest that this biochemical attribute may be critical for the function of this subset of callosal neurons.
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