Responses to visual stimulation and relationship between visual, auditory, and somatosensory inputs in mouse superior colliculus

J Neurophysiol. 1975 May;38(3):690-713. doi: 10.1152/jn.1975.38.3.690.


The superior colliculus was studied in anesthetized mice by recording from single cells and from unit clusters. The topographic representation of the visual filed was similar to what has been found in other mammals, with the temporal part of the contralateral visual field projecting posteriorly and the inferior visual field projecting laterally. At the anterior margin of the tectum receptive fields recorded through the contralateral eye and invaded the ipsilateral visual hemifield for up to 35 degrees, suggesting that the entire visual field through one eye is represented on the contralateral superior colliculus. Cells located closest to the tectal surface had relatively small receptive fields, averaging 9 degrees in center diameter; field sizes increased steadily with depth. The prevailing cell type in the stratum zonal and superficial gray responded best to a small dark or light object of any shape moved slowly through the receptive-field center or to turning a small stationary spot on or off. Large objects or diffuse light were usually much less effective. Less than one-quarter of superficial layer cells showed directional selectivity to a moving object, the majority of these favoring up and nasal movement. The chief visual cell type in the stratum opticum and upper part of the intermediate gray resembled in the newness neurons described for many other vertebrates: they had large receptive fields and responded best to up and nasal movement of a small dark or light object, whose optimal size was similar to the optimum for upper-layer cells. If the same part of the receptive field was repeatedly stimulated there was a marked tendency to habituate. Only very few cels responded to the ipsilateral eye. Intermixed with visual cells in the upper part of the intermediate gray were cells that responded to somatosensory or auditory stimuli. Here bimodal and trimodal cells were also seen. In deeper layers somatosensory and auditory modalities tended to take over. These two modalities were not segregated into sublayers but rather seemed to be arranged in clusters. Responses to somatosensory and auditory stimuli were brisk, showing little habituation to repeated stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acoustic Stimulation
  • Animals
  • Auditory Perception / physiology*
  • Brain Mapping
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Functional Laterality
  • Hair / innervation
  • Mechanoreceptors / physiology
  • Methionine
  • Mice / physiology*
  • Orientation
  • Photic Stimulation*
  • Photoreceptor Cells / physiology
  • Physical Stimulation
  • Somatosensory Cortex
  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology*
  • Touch / physiology*
  • Visual Fields
  • Visual Pathways / physiology
  • Visual Perception / physiology*


  • Sulfur Radioisotopes
  • Methionine