Weight Consistency Specifies Regularities of Macaque Cortical Networks

N.T. Markov, P. Misery, A. Falchier, C. Lamy, J. Vezoli, R. Quilodran, P. Giroud, M.A. Gariel, M. Ercsey-Ravasz, L.J. Pilaz, C. Huissoud, P. Barone, C. Dehay, Z. Toroczkai, D.C. Van Essen, H. Kennedy, K. Knoblauch
Cerebral Cortex 21.6 (2011): 1254-1272.
Publication Date: 
November, 2010

To what extent cortical pathways show significant weight differences and whether these differences are consistent across animals (thereby comprising robust connectivity profiles) is an important and unresolved neuroanatomical issue. Here we report a quantitative retrograde tracer analysis in the cynomolgus macaque monkey of the weight consistency of the afferents of cortical areas across brains via calculation of a weight index (fraction of labeled neurons, FLN). Injection in 8 cortical areas (3 occipital plus 5 in the other lobes) revealed a consistent pattern: small subcortical input (1.3% cumulative FLN), high local intrinsic connectivity (80% FLN), high-input form neighboring areas (15% cumulative FLN), and weak long-range corticocortical connectivity (3% cumulative FLN). Corticocortical FLN values of projections to areas V1, V2, and V4 showed heavy-tailed, lognormal distributions spanning 5 orders of magnitude that were consistent, demonstrating significant connectivity profiles. These results indicate that 1) connection weight heterogeneity plays an important role in determining cortical network specificity, 2) high investment in local projections highlights the importance of local processing, and 3) transmission of information across multiple hierarchy levels mainly involves pathways having low FLN values.