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Cortex CerebriPerformance, Structural and Functional Organisation of the Cortex$
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O. D. Creutzfeldt

Print publication date: 1995

Print ISBN-13: 9780198523246

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: March 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780198523246.001.0001

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Functional topography of sensory and motor areas

Functional topography of sensory and motor areas

(p.221) 6 Functional topography of sensory and motor areas
Cortex Cerebri

O.D. Creutzfeldt

Oxford University Press

Each area of the cerebral cortex receives most of its afferent fibres from one specific projection nucleus of the thalamus. The topographical organization of this thalamocortical projection is such that a discrete volume in the thalamus sends its fibres to a circumscribed region in the cortex and contiguous volumes in the thalamus project to contiguous fields in the cortex. In this sense, a point-to-point projection could be considered, but this over-simplification does not take into account the mutual overlap of thalamic fibres within their ‘modular’ cortical arborization areas (0.5–1 mm). The topographical representation of the thalamic projection nuclei across the cerebral cortex is a topological problem because the thalamus is a three dimensional body, whereas the cerebral cortex constitutes a two-dimensional surface. In addition, the thalamic neurones which project to a small region in the cortex are not arranged in spherical volumes in the thalamus, but as elongated rods with their axes oriented either anteroposteriorly or more vertically.

Keywords:   cerebral cortex, afferent fibres, projection nucleus, thalamus, thalamocortical projection, thalamic fibres

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