The present experiments were undertaken to define the areas of projection of pretectum and superior colliculus to the pulvinar and n. lateralis posterior, respectively, and to define other brain stem structures projecting to these thalamic nuclei in cats. For this purpose the technique of retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) has been used. After injection of the enzyme in the pulvinar, neurons were labeled in all subdivisions of the pretectal area. The majority of the labeled cells were located in the n. pretectalis posterior and n. tractus opticus although cells filled with HRP were present also in the n. pretectalis anterior pars compacta and area pretectalis medialis. Neurons projecting to the pulvinar were also found in the periaqueductal gray, reticular formation and locus coeruleus. When HRP was injected in the n. lateralis posterior, labeled neurons were present in the II and III subdivisions of the second layer of the superior colliculus. The location of these cells shifted from medial to lateral as the injections were shifted from posterior to anterior within the lateralis posterior. Neurons projecting to this nucleus were also present in the intermediate layers of the superior colliculus, lateral hypothalamus and parabigeminal nucleus. The possible role of the pretectal area and superior colliculus in mediating somesthetic input to the pulvinar and lateralis posterior, respectively, and the role of these structures in the control of ocular movements, are discussed.
- Visual system
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