Morphology of the cells within the inferior temporal gyrus that project to the prefrontal cortex in the macaque monkey

Ana D. de Lima, Thomas Voigt, John Morrison

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


The primate neocortex possesses an extraordinary degree of regional specialization. Virtually all cortical functions are dependent upon a complex system of reciprocal connections between related cortical regions that allow for distributed information processing. Although some aspects of the organization of these corticocortical projections are understood, little is known about the morphology and afferents to the cells of origin of long corticocortical projections in primates. We combined intracellular injection of Lucifer Yellow (LY) in fixed tissue with in vivo retrograde transport of fast blue to study the dendritic morphology of neurons within the inferior temporal gyrus (ITG) and the superior temporal sulcus (STS) that furnish corticocortical projections to the prefrontal cortex. The fast blue retrogradely labeled cells formed two clearly defined bands within the inferior temporal cortex: a supragranular band that corresponded to layer III, and an infragranular band that corresponded to layers V and VI. After Lucifer Yellow intracellular filling, these retrogradely labeled cells projecting to the prefrontal cortex were found to be morphologically very heterogeneous. Although all filled cells had spiny dendrites, they presented a wide range of cell body sizes and dendritic tree morphologies. In layer III, the majority of cells were typical pyramids of various sizes. In layers V–VI, numerous typical pyramidal cells were present. In addition, significant numbers of modified pyramidal forms were found, including vertical and horizontal fusiform cells, asymmetrical pyramids and multipolar cells. The entire dendritic arbor of individual subtypes in layers III, V, and VI was restricted to a few cortical layers, but as a group these cells had dendrites spanning the whole cortical depth. We suggest that corticocortically projecting cells are distinct from subcortically projecting cells and consist of a defined set of morphological and functional subgroups, each of which is driven by a distinct set of afferents and likely possesses different response properties.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)159-172
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • corticocortical projections
  • intracellular filling
  • Lucifer Yellow
  • pyramidal neurons
  • temporal cortex

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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