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Development of projections from auditory to visual areas in the cat.

The Journal of Comparative Neurology
Wiley Blackwell (John Wiley & Sons)
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1002/cne.902720207
  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Auditory Cortex/Anatomy & Histology
  • Auditory Cortex/Growth & Development
  • Axonal Transport
  • Cats/Anatomy & Histology
  • Efferent Pathways/Anatomy & Histology
  • Fluorescent Dyes
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Ocular Physiological Phenomena
  • Visual Cortex/Anatomy & Histology
  • Visual Cortex/Growth & Development
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinin-Horseradish Peroxidase Conjugate
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinins


In newborn kittens, cortical auditory areas (including AI and AII) send transitory projections to ipsi- and contralateral visual areas 17 and 18. These projections originate mainly from neurons in supragranular layers but also from a few in infragranular layers (Innocenti and Clarke: Dev. Brain Res. 14:143-148, '84; Clarke and Innocenti: J. Comp. Neurol. 251:1-22, '86). The postnatal development of these projections was studied with injections of anterograde tracers (wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase [WGA-HRP]) in AI and AII and of retrograde tracers (WGA-HRP, fast blue, diamidino yellow, rhodamine-labeled latex beads) in areas 17 and 18. It was found that the projections are nearly completely eliminated in development, this, by the end of the first postnatal month. Until then, most of the transitory axons seem to remain confined to the white matter and the depth of layer VI; a few enter it further but do not appear to form terminal arbors. As for other transitory cortical projections the disappearance of the transitory axons seems not to involve death of their neurons of origin. In kittens older than 1 month and in normal adult cats, retrograde tracer injections restricted to, or including, areas 17 and 18 label only a few neurons in areas AI and AII. Unlike the situation in the kitten, nearly all of these are restricted to layers V and VI. A similar distribution of neurons projecting from auditory to visual areas is found in adult cats bilaterally enucleated at birth, which suggests that the postnatal elimination of the auditory-to-visual projection is independent of visual experience and more generally of information coming from the retina.

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