The Journal of neuroscience : the official journal of the Society for Neuroscience

Local Circuits of V1 Layer 4B Neurons Projecting to V2 Thick Stripes Define Distinct Cell Classes and Avoid Cytochrome Oxidase Blobs.

PMID 28077720


Decades of anatomical studies on the primate primary visual cortex (V1) have led to a detailed diagram of V1 intrinsic circuitry, but this diagram lacks information about the output targets of V1 cells. Understanding how V1 local processing relates to downstream processing requires identification of neuronal populations defined by their output targets. In primates, V1 layers (L)2/3 and 4B send segregated projections to distinct cytochrome oxidase (CO) stripes in area V2: neurons in CO blob columns project to thin stripes while neurons outside blob columns project to thick and pale stripes, suggesting functional specialization of V1-to-V2 CO streams. However, the conventional diagram of V1 shows all L4B neurons, regardless of their soma location in blob or interblob columns, as projecting selectively to CO blobs in L2/3, suggesting convergence of blob/interblob information in L2/3 blobs and, possibly, some V2 stripes. However, it is unclear whether all L4B projection neurons show similar local circuitries. Using viral-mediated circuit tracing, we have identified the local circuits of L4B neurons projecting to V2 thick stripes in macaque. Consistent with previous studies, we found the somata of this L4B subpopulation to reside predominantly outside blob columns; however, unlike previous descriptions of local L4B circuits, these cells consistently projected outside CO blob columns in all layers. Thus, the local circuits of these L4B output neurons, just like their extrinsic projections to V2, preserve CO streams. Moreover, the intra-V1 laminar patterns of axonal projections identify two distinct neuron classes within this L4B subpopulation, including a rare novel neuron type, suggestive of two functionally specialized output channels. Conventional diagrams of primate primary visual cortex (V1) depict neuronal connections within and between different V1 layers, but lack information about the cells' downstream targets. This information is critical to understanding how local processing in V1 relates to downstream processing. We have identified the local circuits of a population of cells in V1 layer (L)4B that project to area V2. These cells' local circuits differ from classical descriptions of L4B circuits in both the laminar and functional compartments targeted by their axons, and identify two neuron classes. Our results demonstrate that both local intra-V1 and extrinsic V1-to-V2 connections of L4B neurons preserve CO-stream segregation, suggesting that across-stream integration occurs downstream of V1, and that output targets dictate local V1 circuitry.