Distributed but convergent ordering of corticostriatal projections: analysis of the frontal eye field and the supplementary eye field in the macaque monkey.

Parthasarathy HB, Schall JD, Graybiel AM
J Neurosci. 1992 12 (11): 4468-88

PMID: 1279139

The degree of parallel processing in frontal cortex-basal ganglia circuits is a central and debated issue in research on the basal ganglia. To approach this issue directly, we analyzed and compared the corticostriatal projections of two principal oculomotor areas of the frontal lobes, the frontal eye field (FEF) and the supplementary eye field (SEF). We first identified cortical regions within or adjacent to each eye field by microstimulation in macaque monkeys and then injected each site with either 35S-methionine or WGA-HRP conjugate. We analyzed the corticostriatal projections and also the interconnections of the pairs of cortical areas. We observed major convergence of the projections of the FEF and the SEF within the striatum, principally in the caudate nucleus. In cross sections through the striatum, both projections were broken into a series of discontinuous input zones that seemed to be part of complex three-dimensional labyrinths. Where the FEF and SEF projection fields were both present, they overlapped patch for patch. Thus, both inputs were dispersed within the striatum but converged with one another. Striatal afferents from cortex adjacent to the FEF and the SEF did not show convergence with SEF and FEF inputs, but did, in part, converge with one another. For all pairs of cortical areas tested, the degree of overlap in the corticostriatal projections appeared to be directly correlated with the degree of cortical interconnectivity of the areas injected. All of the corticostriatal fiber projections observed primarily avoided immunohistochemically identified striosomes. We conclude that there is convergence of oculomotor information from two distinct regions of the frontal cortex to the striatal matrix, which is known to project into pallidonigral circuits including the striatonigrocollicular pathway of the saccadic eye movement system. Furthermore, functionally distinct premotor areas near the oculomotor fields often systematically projected to striatal zones adjacent to oculomotor field projections, suggesting an anatomical basis for potential interaction of these inputs within the striatum. We propose that parallel processing is not the exclusive principle of organization of forebrain circuits associated with the basal ganglia. Rather, patterns of both convergence and divergence are present and are likely to depend on multiple functional and developmental constraints.

MeSH Terms (16)

Animals Brain Mapping Cerebral Cortex Corpus Striatum Eye Movements Frontal Lobe Horseradish Peroxidase Macaca fascicularis Macaca mulatta Methionine Neural Pathways Oculomotor Muscles Putamen Sulfur Radioisotopes Wheat Germ Agglutinin-Horseradish Peroxidase Conjugate Wheat Germ Agglutinins

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