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In this paper we studied the morphology and spatial distribution of corticothalamic axons and terminals originating from the auditory cortical fields of the cat. The anterograde tracer biocytin was injected at electrophysiologically characterized loci in the primary (AI) (N = 2), anterior (AAF) (N = 1), posterior (PAF) (N = 1) and secondary (AII) (N = 2) auditory fields. In all cases, two different types of labeled terminals were found in the auditory thalamus: small spherical endings (1-2 microns) and giant, finger-like endings (5-10 microns). After biocytin injections in AI and AAF, the majority of anterogradely labeled axons terminated in the rostral half of the pars lateralis (LV) of the ventral division of the medial geniculate body (vMGB). In LV, the corticothalamic axons ramified profusely, giving rise to dense terminal fields forming well delineated curved stripes, with small spherical endings. Additional terminal fields formed by small endings were observed in the medial division of the medial geniculate body (mMGB). Giant endings were observed in a small area in the dorsal nucleus (D) of the dorsal division of the medial geniculate body (dMGB), near its border with the vMGB. PAF projections were located in the caudal half of vMGB and in mMGB, where only small terminals were found. Giant endings were seen in the superficial part of dMGB emerging from labeled corticothalamic axons oriented in parallel to the dorsal surface of the MGB. Projections from AII gave rise to a main terminal field of small endings in D; a second terminal field consisting of giant endings intermingled with small endings was found in the deep dorsal nucleus (DD) of dMGB. We conclude that small terminals serve the feedback projection to the thalamic nucleus from which the injected cortical field receives its main input, whereas giant terminals cross the borders between the parallel ascending auditory pathways.

Original publication




Journal article


Hear Res

Publication Date





161 - 174


Acoustic Stimulation, Animals, Auditory Cortex, Axons, Cats, Electrophysiology, Geniculate Bodies, Lysine, Presynaptic Terminals, Thalamus