Morphology of visual sector thalamic reticular neurons in the macaque monkey suggests retinotopically specialized, parallel stream-mixed input to the lateral geniculate nucleus

Elise M. Bragg, Elizabeth A. Fairless, Shiyuan Liu, Farran Briggs

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations

Abstract

The thalamic reticular nucleus (TRN) is a unique brain structure at the interface between the thalamus and the cortex. Because the TRN receives bottom-up sensory input and top-down cortical input, it could serve as an integration hub for sensory and cognitive signals. Functional evidence supports broad roles for the TRN in arousal, attention, and sensory selection. How specific circuits connecting the TRN with sensory thalamic structures implement these functions is not known. The structural organization and function of the TRN is particularly interesting in the context of highly organized sensory systems, such as the primate visual system, where neurons in the retina and dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus of the thalamus (dLGN) are morphologically and physiologically distinct and also specialized for processing particular features of the visual environment. To gain insight into the functional relationship between the visual sector of the TRN and the dLGN, we reconstructed a large number of TRN neurons that were retrogradely labeled following injections of rabies virus expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein (EGFP) into the dLGN. An independent cluster analysis, based on 10 morphological metrics measured for each reconstructed neuron, revealed three clusters of TRN neurons that differed in cell body shape and size, dendritic arborization patterns, and medial-lateral position within the TRN. TRN dendritic and axonal morphologies are inconsistent with visual stream-specific projections to the dLGN. Instead, TRN neuronal organization could facilitate transmission of global arousal and/or cognitive signals to the dLGN with retinotopic precision that preserves specialized processing of foveal versus peripheral visual information. J. Comp. Neurol. 525:1273–1290, 2017.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1273-1290
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume525
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2017

Keywords

  • LGN
  • RRID: SCR_001622
  • RRID: SCR_001775
  • TRN
  • anatomy
  • independent cluster analysis

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Morphology of visual sector thalamic reticular neurons in the macaque monkey suggests retinotopically specialized, parallel stream-mixed input to the lateral geniculate nucleus'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this