The claustrum is densely connected to the cortex and participates in brain functions such as attention and sleep. Although some studies have reported the widely divergent organization of claustrum projections, others describe parallel claustrocortical connections to different cortical regions. Therefore, the details underlying how claustrum neurons broadcast information to cortical networks remain incompletely understood. Using multicolor retrograde tracing we determined the density, topography, and co-projection pattern of fourteen claustrocortical pathways, in mice. We spatially registered these pathways to a common coordinate space and found that the claustrocortical system is topographically organized as a series of overlapping spatial modules, continuously distributed across the dorsoventral claustrum axis. The claustrum core projects predominantly to frontal-midline cortical regions, whereas the dorsal and ventral shell project to the cortical motor system and temporal lobe, respectively. Anatomically connected cortical regions receive common input from a subset of claustrum neurons shared by neighboring modules, whereas spatially separated regions of cortex are innervated by different claustrum modules. Therefore, each output module exhibits a unique position within the claustrum and overlaps substantially with other modules projecting to functionally related cortical regions. Claustrum inhibitory cells containing parvalbumin, somatostatin, and neuropeptide Y also show unique topographical distributions, suggesting different output modules are controlled by distinct inhibitory circuit motifs. The topographic organization of excitatory and inhibitory cell types may enable parallel claustrum outputs to independently coordinate distinct cortical networks.
bioRxiv Subject Collection: Neuroscience