Architectonic features and relative locations of primary sensory and related areas of neocortex in mouse lemurs

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Abstract

Mouse lemurs are the smallest of the living primates, and are members of the understudied radiation of strepsirrhine lemurs of Madagascar. They are thought to closely resemble the ancestral primates that gave rise to present day primates. Here we have used multiple histological and immunochemical methods to identify and characterize sensory areas of neocortex in four brains of adult lemurs obtained from a licensed breeding colony. We describe the laminar features for the primary visual area (V1), the secondary visual area (V2), the middle temporal visual area (MT) and area prostriata, somatosensory areas S1(3b), 3a, and area 1, the primary motor cortex (M1), and the primary auditory cortex (A1). V1 has “blobs” with “nonblob” surrounds, providing further evidence that this type of modular organization might have evolved early in the primate lineage to be retained in all extant primates. The laminar organization of V1 further supports the view that sublayers of layer 3 of primates have been commonly misidentified as sublayers of layer 4. S1 (area 3b) is proportionately wider than the elongated area observed in anthropoid primates, and has disruptions that may distinguish representations of the hand, face, teeth, and tongue. Primary auditory cortex is located in the upper temporal cortex and may include a rostral area, R, in addition to A1. The resulting architectonic maps of cortical areas in mouse lemurs can usefully guide future studies of cortical connectivity and function.

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