Distribution of corticotectal cells in macaque

Exp Brain Res. 2003 Aug;151(4):455-70. doi: 10.1007/s00221-003-1500-y. Epub 2003 Jul 8.


We compared the cortical inputs to the superficial and deep compartments of the superior colliculus, asking if the corticotectal system, like the colliculus itself, consists of two functional divisions: visual and visuomotor. We made injections of retrograde tracer extending into both superficial and deep layers in three colliculi: the injection site involved mainly the upper quadrant representation in one case, the lower quadrant representation in a second case, and both quadrants in a third. In a fourth colliculus, the tracer injection was restricted to the lower quadrant representation of the superficial layers. After injections involving both superficial and deep layers, labeled cells were seen over V1, many prestriate visual areas, and in prefrontal and posterior parietal cortex. Both the density of labeled cells and the degree of visuotopic order as inferred from the distribution of labeled cells in cortex varied among areas. In visual areas comprising the lower levels of the cortical hierarchy, visuotopy was preserved, whereas in "higher" areas the distribution of labeled cells did not strongly reflect the visuotopic location of the injection. Despite the widespread distribution of labeled cells, there were several areas with few or no labeled cells: MSTd, 7a, VIP, MIP, and TE. In the case with an injection restricted to superficial layers, labeled cells were seen only in V1 and in striate-recipient areas V2, V3, and MT. The results are consistent with the idea that the corticotectal system consists of two largely nonoverlapping components: a visual component consisting of striate cortex and striate-recipient areas, which projects only to the superficial layers, and a visuomotor component consisting of many other prestriate visual areas as well as frontal and parietal visuomotor areas, which projects to the deep compartment of the colliculus.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cerebral Cortex / cytology*
  • Eye Movements / physiology
  • Macaca fascicularis
  • Macaca mulatta
  • Motor Cortex / physiology
  • Pyramidal Cells / physiology
  • Superior Colliculi / cytology*
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology
  • Visual Cortex / physiology
  • Visual Pathways / physiology