Single-axon tracing study of corticostriatal projections arising from primary motor cortex in primates.

Publication Type:

Journal Article


J Comp Neurol, Volume 496, Issue 2, p.202-13 (2006)


Afferent Pathways, Animals, Axons, Biotin, Corpus Striatum, Dextrans, Electron Transport Complex IV, Female, Macaca fascicularis, Male, Motor Cortex, Neurons


<p>The axonal projections arising from the forelimb area of the primary motor cortex (M1) in cynomolgus monkeys (Macaca fascicularis) were studied following microiontophoretic injections of biotinylated dextran amine under electrophysiological guidance. The microinjections were centered on layer V, and 42 anterogradely labeled corticofugal axons were reconstructed from serial frontal or sagittal sections with a camera lucida. Our investigation shows that the primate striatum receives both direct and indirect projections from M1. The direct corticostriatal projection is formed by axons that remain uniformly thin and unbranched throughout their sinuous trajectory to the ipsilateral striatum. They divide as they enter the dorsolateral sector of the post-commissural putamen, the so-called sensorimotor striatal territory. The indirect corticostriatal projection derives from a thin collateral emitted within the corona radiata by thick, long-range fibers that descend toward the brainstem. The collateral enters the putamen dorsomedially and remains unbranched until it reaches the dorsolateral sector of the putamen, where it breaks out into two to four axonal branches displaying small and equally spaced varicosities. Both direct and indirect corticostriatal axons branch moderately but occupy vast rostrocaudal striatal territories, where they appear to contact en passant several widely distributed striatal neurons. These findings reveal that, in contrast to current beliefs, the primate motor corticostriatal system is not exclusively formed by axons dedicated solely to the striatum. It also comprises collaterals from long-range corticofugal axons, which can thus provide to the striatum a copy of the neural information that is being conveyed to the brainstem and/or spinal cord.</p>

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