Pyramidal naurons in layers V and VI of cat primary auditory cortex (AI) were intracellularty injected with biocytin after functional characterization according to a position relative to an anteroposterior sequence of best- frequency responses. A sample of 19 completely filled neurons was analyzed, and a preliminary classification was made on the basis of dendritic morphology and axon collateral distribution. Layer V cells could be divided into two types. Cells in the upper part of layer V and projecting toward the diencephalon had a large cell body and an apical dendrite with extensive branches in layer I. These cells had few recurrent axon collaterals, and no terminal axonal bushes were formed in the vicinity of the dendritic field. Long horizontal collaterals with many boutons, however, extended in various directions parallel to the cortical surface. By contrast calls in the lower part of layer V and sending an axon into the putamen, or without an obvious subcortical axon, had a medium soma and an apical dendrite with few branches in layer I. These cells had a dense bush of recurrent collaterals extending into layers II and III and surrounding the dendritic field, but few or no horizontal collaterals. Layer VI injected neurons were more heterogeneous. All had a thin ascending dendrite with oblique branches both ending in layer III. Axon collateral distributions varied from cell to cell. Relatively small cells with an apical dendrite that branched frequently in layers III and IV had a dense network of recurrent collaterals in the dendritic field, but virtually no horizontal collaterals. This type projected toward the diencephalon. Cells with relatively long horizontal collaterals and a weak recurrent system confined to layers V and VI had a unique arborization pattern of basal dendrites. This type may have projected to the daustrum or other cortical areas. One cell with dendritic branches restricted to layer VI had horizontal collaterals predominantly in layer VI. This cell projected into the corpus callosum. The apparent close correlation between extrinsic projections of infragranular neurons and their dendritic morphology and intracortical collateral distributions suggests that differentially projecting cells may engage different elements of intracortical circuitry in AI.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Frontier Research Program, Japan, and NIH Grant DCOO450 from the U.S. Public Heath Service.