The relationship between the termination zones of projections from paired homotopic areas of the frontal lobes was examined in the caudate nucleus and the putamen of the macaque monkey. Injections of WGA-HRP and tritiated amino acids were made in topographically matched regions of the principal sulcus (PS) or of the supplementary motor area (SMA) in each hemisphere, such that the projections from the same area on each side were differentially labeled in the same animal. Adjacent sections through the neostriatum were processed for the respective tracers, permitting the relationship between the converging projections to be defined.
The topographic distribution and strength of ipsilateral corticostriatal projections observed for separately labeled left and right hemispheres were strikingly similar. Projections from the left and the right PS terminated preferentially in central parts of the left and right neostriata, respectively, while projections of the left and right SMAs terminated preferentially in dorsolateral parts of respective left and right neostriata. Therefore, little evidence for asymmetry of corticostriatal projections was found.
The projections of the left and the right PS to the same neostriatum were also compared. Remarkably, whether in the left or right hemisphere, projections from the left and the right PS were in precise register in topographically specific territories of the caudate and putamen. Likewise, projections of the left and right SMAs converged in both the left and right neostriata. Such convergence allows for a remarkable degree of interhemispheric integration in the descending corticostriatal networks.