Hierarchical and nonhierarchical features of the mouse visual cortical network

Rinaldo D. D’Souza, Quanxin Wang, Weiqing Ji, Andrew M. Meier, Henry Kennedy, Kenneth Knoblauch, Andreas Burkhalter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Neocortical computations underlying vision are performed by a distributed network of functionally specialized areas. Mouse visual cortex, a dense interareal network that exhibits hierarchical properties, comprises subnetworks interconnecting distinct processing streams. To determine the layout of the mouse visual hierarchy, we have evaluated the laminar patterns formed by interareal axonal projections originating in each of ten areas. Reciprocally connected pairs of areas exhibit feedforward/feedback relationships consistent with a hierarchical organization. Beta regression analyses, which estimate a continuous hierarchical distance measure, indicate that the network comprises multiple nonhierarchical circuits embedded in a hierarchical organization of overlapping levels. Single-unit recordings in anaesthetized mice show that receptive field sizes are generally consistent with the hierarchy, with the ventral stream exhibiting a stricter hierarchy than the dorsal stream. Together, the results provide an anatomical metric for hierarchical distance, and reveal both hierarchical and nonhierarchical motifs in mouse visual cortex.

Original languageEnglish
Article number503
JournalNature communications
Issue number1
StatePublished - Dec 2022


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