Patchy and laminar terminations of medial geniculate axons in monkey auditory cortex

T. Hashikawa, M. Molinari, E. Rausell, E. G. Jones

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The object of this study was to identify the terminal distributions of thalamocortical axons arising in chemically characterized subdivisions of the medial geniculate complex. Large injections of wheat germ agglutinin- conjugated horseradish peroxidase or small injections of Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin were made in the medial geniculate complex of Macaca fuscata. The terminal distributions of labeled axons in the cortex were correlated with auditory cortical fields demonstrable by different intensities of immunoreactivity for parvalbumin. Fibers from the ventral nucleus terminated mainly in layer IV and deep portion of layer III (IIIB), with additional terminations in layers I-IIIA and in layer VI. In layers IIIB-IV, a major terminal plexus was formed by a small number of dense patches, 300-500 μm in diameter, surrounded by smaller satellite patches. The patches conformed to a similarly lobulated pattern of parvalbumin fiber immunoreactivity. Terminations of some individually labeled thalamocortical fibers were restricted to a single patch, whereas others innervated more than one patch by collateral branches. Fibers from the dorsal nuclei ending in areas of less dense parvalbumin immunoreactivity surrounding the primary auditory cortex formed much larger terminal patches centered largely in layer IIIB. Fibers from the magnocellular nucleus had relatively few terminal branches but innervated extremely wide areas by collaterals of single axons. Two types of axons arose from the magnocellular nucleus, one terminating preferentially in middle cortical layers and the other exclusively in layer I. These may arise respectively from parvalbumin- and calbindin-immunoreactive cell populations in the magnocellular nucleus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)195-208
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1995


  • cortical columns
  • hearing
  • parallel auditory pathways
  • single axons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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