Mediodorsal nucleus: areal, laminar, and tangential distribution of afferents and efferents in the frontal lobe of rhesus monkeys. J Comp Neurol. 1988 Nov 8;277(2):195-213.

Giguere M, Goldman-Rakic PS.

The terminal distribution of thalamic afferents in primate prefrontal cortex has never been examined in any detail. In the present study, WGA-HRP was injected into major subdivisions of the mediodorsal nucleus (MD) in the rhesus monkey in order to determine 1) The areal distribution of MD projections, 2) the layer(s) in which MD afferents terminate, 3) the tangential pattern of the MD axonal terminals, 4) the cells of origin of the reciprocal corticothalamic pathway, and 5) the degree of reciprocity between the corticothalamic and thalamocortical pathways in the different regions of the prefrontal cortex. As expected on the basis of retrograde degeneration and transport studies, injections centered in the magnocellular (MDmc) subnucleus of MD labeled cells and terminals in the ventral and medial prefrontal cortex. Injections involving ventral MDmc labeled the more lateral of these areas (Walker's areas 11 and 12); injections of the dorsal MDmc labeled the ventromedial regions (areas 13 and 14). In contrast, injections involving mainly the lateral, parvicellular (MDpc) moiety labeled cells and terminals in dorsolateral and dorsomedial areas (Walker's 46, 9, and 8B). Area 8A was labeled most prominently when injections included the multiform portion of MD (MDmf) and area 10 had connections with anterior portions of MD. A dorsal-ventral topography for MDpc exists with dorsal MDpc labeling dorsal and dorsomedial prefrontal areas and ventral MDpc labeling dorsolateral prefrontal cortex. Our findings with respect to MD are consistent with a nucleus-to-field organization of its thalamocortical projection system. Outside of the traditional boundaries of prefrontal cortex, lateral MD projections extended to the supplementary motor area (SMA) and the dorsal part of the anterior cingulate (AC) whereas the medial MD projection targeted the ventromedial cingulate cortex and spared SMA. In addition, a few labeled cells and sparse terminals were found in the inferior parietal lobule, the superior temporal sulcus, and the anterior part of the insula after injections that involved the medial part of MD. Labeled terminals were invariably confined to layer IV and adjacent deep layer III. No terminal label was ever observed in layers I, II, superficial III, V, or VI in any part of the cerebral cortex following injections confined to any part of MD.

Neuroanatomical Connectivity References