Modular Organization of Signal Transmission in Primate Somatosensory Cortex

Yaqub Mir, László Zalányi, Emese Pálfi, Mária Ashaber, Anna W. Roe, Robert M. Friedman, László Négyessy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Axonal patches are known as the major sites of synaptic connections in the cerebral cortex of higher order mammals. However, the functional role of these patches is highly debated. Patches are formed by populations of nearby neurons in a topographic manner and are recognized as the termination fields of long-distance lateral connections within and between cortical areas. In addition, axons form numerous boutons that lie outside the patches, whose function is also unknown. To better understand the functional roles of these two distinct populations of boutons, we compared individual and collective morphological features of axons within and outside the patches of intra-areal, feedforward, and feedback pathways by way of tract tracing in the somatosensory cortex of New World monkeys. We found that, with the exception of tortuosity, which is an invariant property, bouton spacing and axonal convergence properties differ significantly between axons within patch and no-patch domains. Principal component analyses corroborated the clustering of axons according to patch formation without any additional effect by the type of pathway or laminar distribution. Stepwise logistic regression identified convergence and bouton density as the best predictors of patch formation. These findings support that patches are specific sites of axonal convergence that promote the synchronous activity of neuronal populations. On the other hand, no-patch domains could form a neuroanatomical substrate to diversify the responses of cortical neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number915238
JournalFrontiers in Neuroanatomy
StatePublished - Jul 8 2022
Externally publishedYes


  • anterograde labeling
  • bouton
  • convergence
  • multivariate analysis
  • squirrel monkey

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Anatomy
  • Neuroscience (miscellaneous)
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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