Bilateral receptive fields and callosal connectivity of the body midline representation in the first somatosensory area of primates

Fiorenzo Conti, Mara Fabri, Tullio Manzoni

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Experiments were performed in order to study the receptive field (RF) organization and the callosal connectivity of the trunk representation zone in areas 3b and 1 of the postcentral cortex of macaque monkeys. Multiunit microelectrode recordings showed that neurons responding to tactile stimulation of bilateral RFs across the midline of the body were contained in three topographically distinct zones of the trunk map. In one zone, at the junction between cytoarchitectonic areas 3b and 1, RFs straddled the dorsal midline of the trunk. In the other two zones, one located caudally in area 1 in front of the postcentral dimple, and the other rostrally in area 3b in the depth of the posterior bank of the central sulcus, RFs straddled the ventral midline of the trunk. The first one and the other two zones are referred to here as the dorsal and the ventral midline representation zones, respectively. Elsewhere in the trunk map, neurons responded only to stimulation of contralateral RFs. The callosal connectivity of the trunk map was studied by means of the transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP). Multiple injections of HRP in electrophysiologically identified sites of the trunk representation in one hemisphere labeled both callosal fiber terminals and callosally projecting neurons in the contralateral homotopic cortex. Dense patches of callosal neurons intensely labeled with HRP were present in the cortical regions representing the body midlines and were distributed for the most part in layer III. Some neurons lightly labeled with HRP were scattered in other zones of the trunk map. Callosal terminations were densest within the midline zones and very sparse or absent in the lateral trunk zones. Correlation of physiological and anatomical data obtained either separately or from the same animal demonstrated that cortical regions containing bilateral-field neurons also contained the highest density of labeled callosal terminations and neurons. This correlation suggests a role for the corpus callosum in the perception of the body midline, either by generating the bilateral RFs of these neurons or by coordinating the activity of the regions containing neurons with thalamically generated bilateral RFs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)273-289
Number of pages17
JournalSomatosensory & Motor Research
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1986

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Sensory Systems


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