Visuomotor interactions in the mouse forebrain mediated by extrastriate cortico-cortical pathways
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Introduction: The mammalian visual system can be broadly divided into two functional processing pathways: a dorsal stream supporting visually and spatially guided actions, and a ventral stream enabling object recognition. In rodents, the majority of visual signaling in the dorsal stream is transmitted to frontal motor cortices via extrastriate visual areas surrounding V1, but exactly where and to what extent V1 feeds into motor-projecting visual regions is not well known. Methods: We employed a dual labeling strategy in male and female mice in which efferent projections from V1 were labeled anterogradely, and motor-projecting neurons in higher visual areas were labeled with retrogradely traveling adeno-associated virus (rAAV-retro) injected in M2. We characterized the labeling in both flattened and coronal sections of dorsal cortex and made high-resolution 3D reconstructions to count putative synaptic contacts in different extrastriate areas. Results: The most pronounced colocalization V1 output and M2 input occurred in extrastriate areas AM, PM, RL and AL. Neurons in both superficial and deep layers in each project to M2, but high resolution volumetric reconstructions indicated that the majority of putative synaptic contacts from V1 onto M2-projecting neurons occurred in layer 2/3. Discussion: These findings support the existence of a dorsal processing stream in the mouse visual system, where visual signals reach motor cortex largely via feedforward projections in anteriorly and medially located extrastriate areas.