Neuroanatomy pp 561-581 | Cite as

Columnar Distribution of Cortico-Cortical Fibers in the Frontal Association, Limbic, and Motor Cortex of the Developing Rhesus Monkey

  • Patricia S. Goldman
  • Walle J. H. Nauta
Part of the Contemporary Neuroscientists book series (CN)


The terminal distribution of cortico-cortical connections was examined by autoradiography 7–8 days following injections of tritium labeled amino acids into the dorsal bank of the principal sulcus, the posterior part of the medial orbital gyrus, or the hand and arm area of the primary motor cortex in monkeys ranging in age from 4 days to 5.5 months. Labeled axons originating in these various regions of the frontal lobe have topographically diverse ipsilateral and contralateral destinations but virtually all of these projections share a common mode of distribution: they terminate in distinct vertically oriented columns, 200–500 μm wide, that extend across all layers of cortex and alternate in regular sequence with columns of comparable width in which grains do not exceed background. Spatial periodicity in the pattern of transported label in such regions as the prefrontal association cortex, the retro-splenial limbic cortex and the motor cortex indicates that columniation in the intra-cortical distribution of afferent fibers is not unique to sensory specific cortex but is instead a general feature of neocortical organization.

A columnar mode of distribution of cortico-cortical projections is present in monkeys at all ages investigated but is especially well delineated in the youngest of them. Thus, grain concentrations within columns are very high in monkeys injected at 4 days of age, somewhat lower in monkeys injected at 39–45 days of age, and least dense in those injected at 5.5 months. The distinctness of the spatially segregated pattern of innervation in the cortex of neonates indicates that the columnar organization of association-fiber systems in the frontal and limbic cortex is achieved before or shortly after birth.


Motor Cortex Commissural Fiber Young Monkey Callosal Fiber Columnar Organization 
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Copyright information

© Elsevier/North-Holland Biomedical Press, Amsterdam 1993

Authors and Affiliations

  • Patricia S. Goldman
    • 1
    • 2
  • Walle J. H. Nauta
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of NeuropsychologyNational Institute of Mental HealthBethesdaUSA
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyMassachusetts Institute of TechnologyCambridgeUSA

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