This study investigates the intrinsic organization of axons and dendrites of aspinous, local circuit neurons of the macaque monkey visual striate cortex. These investigations use Golgi Rapid preparations of cortical tissue from monkeys aged 3 weeks postnatal to adult. We have earlier (Lund, '87) described local circuit neurons found within laminae 5A and 4C; this present account is of neurons found in the infragranular laminae 5B and 6. Since the majority of such neurons are GABAergic and therefore believed to be inhibitory, their role in laminae 5B and 6, the principal sources of efferent projections to subcortical regions, is of considerable importance. We find laminae 5B and 6 to have in common at least one general class of local circuit neuron–the “basket” neuron. However, a major difference is seen in the axonal projections to the superficial layers made by these and other local circuit neurons in the two laminae; lamina 5B has local circuit neurons with principal rising axon projections to lamina 2/3A, areas whereas lamina 6 has local circuit neurons with principal rising axon projections to divisions of 4C, 4A, and 3B. These local circuit neuron axon projections mimic the different patterns of apical dendritic and recurrent axon projections of pyramidal neurons lying within laminae 5B and 6, which are linked together by both dendritic and axonal arbors of local circuit neurons in their neuropils extending between the two laminae. The border zone between 5B and 6 is a specialized region with its own variety of horizontally oriented local circuit neurons, and it also serves as a special focus for pericellular axon arrays from a particular variety of local circuit neuron lying within lamina 6. These pericellular axon “baskets” surround the somata and initial dendritic segments of the largest pyramidal neurons of layer 6, which are known to project both to cortical area MT (V5) and to the superior colliculus (Fries et al., '85). Many of the local circuit neurons of layer 5B send axon trunks into the white matter, and we therefore, suspect them of providing efferent projections. The axons of lamina 6 local circuit neurons have not been found to make such clear‐cut contributions to the white matter.
- visual cortex
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