Interhemispheric connections of somatosensory cortex in the flying fox
The interhemispheric connections of somatosensory cortex in the gray-headed flying fox (Pteropus poliocephalus) were examined. Injections of anatomical tracers were placed into five electrophysiologically identified somatosensory areas: the primary somatosensory area (SI or area 3b), the anterior parietal areas 3a and 1/2, and the lateral somatosensory areas SII (the secondary somatosensory area) and PV (pairetal ventral area). In two animals, the hemisphere opposite to that containing the injection sites was explored electrophysiologically to allow the details of the topography of interconnections to be assessed. Examination of the areal distribution of labeled cell bodies and/or axon terminals in cortex sectioned tangential to the pial surface revealed several consistent findings. First, the density of connections varied as a function of the body part representation injected. For example, the area 3b representation of the trunk and structures of the face are more densely interconnected than the representation of distal body parts (e.g., digit 1, D1). Second, callosal connections appear to be both matched and mismatched to the body part representations injected in the opposite hemisphere. For example, an injection of retrograde tracer into the trunk representation of area 3b revealed connections from the trunk representation in the opposite hemisphere, as well as from shoulder and forelimb/wing representations. Third, the same body part is differentially connected in different fields via the corpus callosum. For example, the D1 representation in area 3b in one hemisphere had no connections with the area 3b D1 representation in the opposite hemisphere, whereas the D1 representation in area 1/2 had relatively dense reciprocal connections with area 1/2 in the opposite hemisphere. Finally, there are callosal projections to fields other than the homotopic, contralateral field. For example, the D1 representation in area 1/2 projects to contralateral area 1/2, and also to area 3b and SII.
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