The anatomical and functional organization of the human visual pulvinar

Michael J. Arcaro, Mark A. Pinsk, Sabine Kastner

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

55 Scopus citations

Abstract

The pulvinar is the largest nucleus in the primate thalamus and contains extensive, reciprocal connections with visual cortex. Although the anatomical and functional organization of the pulvinar has been extensively studied in old and new world monkeys, little is known about the organization of the human pulvinar. Using high-resolution functional magnetic resonance imaging at 3 T, we identified two visual field maps within the ventral pulvinar, referred to as vPul1 and vPul2. Both maps contain an inversion of contralateral visual space with the upper visual field represented ventrally and the lower visual field represented dorsally. vPul1 and vPul2 border each other at the vertical meridian and share a representation of foveal space with iso-eccentricity lines extending across areal borders. Additional, coarse representations of contralateral visual space were identified within ventral medial and dorsal lateral portions of the pulvinar. Connectivity analyses on functional and diffusion imaging data revealed a strong distinction in thalamocortical connectivity between the dorsal and ventral pulvinar. The two maps in the ventral pulvinar were most strongly connected with early and extrastriate visual areas. Given the shared eccentricity representationandsimilarity in cortical connectivity,wepropose that these twomapsforma distinct visual fieldmapcluster and perform related functions. The dorsal pulvinar was most strongly connected with parietal and frontal areas. The functional and anatomical organization observed within the human pulvinar was similar to the organization of the pulvinar in other primate species.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)9848-9871
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Volume35
Issue number27
DOIs
StatePublished - Jul 8 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Neuroscience(all)

Keywords

  • Connectivity
  • DTI
  • Pulvinar
  • Retinotopy
  • Visual
  • fMRI

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