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Directional asymmetry of neurons in cortical areas MT and MST projecting to the NOT-DTN in macaques

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Alexander Thiele


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The cortical projection to the subcortical pathway underlying the optokinetic reflex was studied using antidromic electrical stimulation in the midbrain structures nucleus of the optic tract and dorsal terminal nucleus of the accessory optic system (NOT-DTN) while simultaneously recording from cortical neurons in the superior temporal sulcus (STS) of macaque monkeys. Projection neurons were found in all subregions of the middle temporal area (MT) as well as in the medial superior temporal area (MST). Antidromic latencies ranged from 0.9 to 6 ms with a median of 1.8 ms. There was a strong bias in the population of cortical neurons projecting to the NOT-DTN for ipsiversive stimulus movement (towards the recording side), whereas in the population of cortical neurons not projecting to the NOT-DTN a more or less equal distribution of stimulus directions was evident. Our data indicate that there is no special area in the posterior STS coding for ipsiversive horizontal stimulus movement. Instead, a specific selection of cortical neurons from areas MT and MST forms the projection to the NOT-DTN and as a subpopulation has the same directional bias as their subcortical target neurons. These findings are discussed in relation to the functional grouping of cortical output as an organizational principle for specific motor responses.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Thiele A; Hoffmann KP; Bremmer F; Distler C

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Journal of Neurophysiology

Year: 2002

Volume: 87

Issue: 4

Pages: 2113-2123

ISSN (print): 0022-3077

ISSN (electronic): 1522-1598

Publisher: American Physiological Society