Commissurally projecting neurons were identified in the monkey first somatic sensory area (SI) by the retrograde axonal transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) injected into the contralateral cortex. Neurons identified in this way have large pyramidal somata primarily in layer IIIB of the SI area. Their basal dendrites lie within the terminal plexus of thalamocortical afferents. Electron microscopy was used to examine the synaptic relations of the labelled commissural cells, in particular to determine whether they receive monosynaptic thalamic connections. To do this, retrogradely labelled commissural cells and Golgi-impregnated large pyramidal neurons from layer IIIB were examined ultrastructurally in material in which thalamocortical terminals were degenerating due to a prior lesion of the thalamus. In a significant number of cases degenerating terminals were found to make synapses on the spines or shafts of labelled dendrites. Injections of HRP into SI or into the white matter adjacent to the corpus callosum labelled callosal axons and terminals in the opposite SI. These axons terminated mainly near the somata of the layer IIIB pyramidal cells. Some of their terminals were found to synapse with dendrites receiving synaptic contacts from thalamocortical axon terminals.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cell Biology