Key words Claustrum
Visual zones Comparative anatomy
Springer Online Journal Archives 1860-2000
Abstract The retrograde axonal transport method was used to compare the topography and organization of the visual zone of the claustrum in rat, guinea pig, rabbit and cat. First, massive Fluoro-Gold injections were placed into the primary visual cortex and the secondary areas. Experiments showed differences in the location of the visual zone among the animals under study. In rat, the visual zone occupied the posteroventral part of the claustrum and spread to its anterior pole. In guinea pig, neurons projecting to the visual cortex were located dorsally in the posterior half of the claustrum. In rabbit, similarly to the rat, they were localized in the posteroventral part; however, they did not reach the anterior pole. In cat, neurons that project to the visual cortex were concentrated dorsally in the posterior fourth of the claustrum. In double-injection experiments, Fast Blue and Diamidino Yellow were placed into the primary and secondary visual areas in various combinations. The experiments showed that in the rat and the rabbit claustral neurons project to primary visual cortex (area 17) as well as to both secondary visual areas (areas 18a and b). Populations of neurons sending axons to the primary and secondary areas showed full overlap. The presence of double-labeled neurons indicates that some claustral neurons project both to the primary and secondary fields. In cat, neurons that project to the primary visual cortex appear to be clearly separated from those connected with the secondary visual area, as no double-labeled neurons were found. In all studied species, the double injections placed into the visual and primary somatosensory cortex did not result in any double-labeling neurons. Our results indicate that the location of the visual zone in the posterior part of the claustrum is a phylogenetically stable feature, whereas its dorsoventral shift as well as the extent toward the anterior pole is related to the particular species. The overlap of neurons projecting to the primary and secondary visual areas in the rat and rabbit as well as the separation of both projections in cat appear to reflect the higher degree of complexity of the visual system in the latter.
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