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A systematic topographical relationship between mouse lateral posterior thalamic neurons and their visual cortical projection targets.

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Higher-order visual thalamus communicates broadly and bi-directionally with primary and extrastriate cortical areas in various mammals. In primates, the pulvinar is a topographically and functionally organized thalamic nucleus that is largely dedicated to visual processing. Still, a more granular connectivity map is needed to understand the role of thalamocortical loops in visually guided behavior. Similarly, the secondary visual thalamic nucleus in mice (the lateral posterior nucleus, LP) has extensive connections with cortex. To resolve the precise connectivity of these circuits, we first mapped mouse visual cortical areas using intrinsic signal optical imaging and then injected fluorescently tagged retrograde tracers (cholera toxin subunit B) into retinotopically-matched locations in various combinations of seven different visual areas. We find that LP neurons representing matched regions in visual space but projecting to different extrastriate areas are found in different topographically organized zones, with few double-labeled cells (~4-6%). In addition, V1 and extrastriate visual areas received input from the ventrolateral part of the laterodorsal nucleus of the thalamus (LDVL). These observations indicate that the thalamus provides topographically organized circuits to each mouse visual area and raise new questions about the contributions from LP and LDVL to cortical activity.

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