The Crossed Projection to the Striatum in Two Species of Monkey and in Humans: Behavioral and Evolutionary Significance

Giorgio M. Innocenti, Tim Bjørn Dyrby, Kasper Winther Andersen, Eric M. Rouiller, Roberto Caminiti

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The corpus callosum establishes the anatomical continuity between the 2 hemispheres and coordinates their activity. Using histological tracing, single axon reconstructions, and diffusion tractography, we describe a callosal projection to n caudatus and putamen in monkeys and humans. In both species, the origin of this projection is more restricted than that of the ipsilateral projection. In monkeys, it consists of thin axons (0.4–0.6 µm), appropriate for spatial and temporal dispersion of subliminal inputs. For prefrontal cortex, contralateral minus ipsilateral delays to striatum calculated from axon diameters and conduction distance are <2 ms in the monkey and, by extrapolation, <4 ms in humans. This delay corresponds to the performance in Poffenberger’s paradigm, a classical attempt to estimate central conduction delays, with a neuropsychological task. In both species, callosal cortico-striatal projections originate from prefrontal, premotor, and motor areas. In humans, we discovered a new projection originating from superior parietal lobule, supramarginal, and superior temporal gyrus, regions engaged in language processing. This projection crosses in the isthmus the lesion of which was reported to dissociate syntax and prosody. The projection might originate from an overproduction of callosal projections in development, differentially pruned depending on species.
Original languageEnglish
JournalCerebral Cortex
Issue number6
Pages (from-to)3217-3230
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Axons
  • Conduction delays
  • Corpus callosum
  • Diffusion tractography
  • Language


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