Abstract

We have previously revealed that occ1 is preferentially expressed in the primary visual area (V1) of the monkey neocortex. In our attempt to identify more area-selective genes in the macaque neocortex, we found that testican-1, an occ1-related gene, and its family members also exhibit characteristic expression patterns along the visual pathway. The expression levels of testican-1 and testican-2 mRNAs as well as that of occ1 mRNA start of high in V1, progressively decrease along the ventral visual pathway, and end of low in the temporal areas. Complementary to them, the neuronal expression of SPARC mRNA is abundant in the association areas and scarce in V1. Whereas occ1, testican-1, and testican-2 mRNAs are preferentially distributed in thalamorecipient layers including “blobs,” SPARC mRNA expression avoids these layers. Neither SC1 nor testican-3 mRNA expression is selective to particular areas, but SC1 mRNA is abundantly observed in blobs. The expressions of occ1, testican-1, testican-2, and SC1 mRNA were downregulated after monocular tetrodotoxin injection. These results resonate with previous works on chemical and functional gradients along the primate occipitotemporal visual pathway and raise the possibility that these gradients and functional architecture may be related to the visual activity–dependent expression of these extracellular matrix glycoproteins.

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