Evidence for separate pathways within the tecto-geniculate projection in the tree shrew

Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 1991 Feb 15;88(4):1315-9. doi: 10.1073/pnas.88.4.1315.


Two layers (3 and 6) in the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus (GLd) of the tree shrew (Tupaia belangeri) receive projections from the superficial layers of the superior colliculus. The goal of this study was to determine whether the same or different cells in the superior colliculus give rise to the projections to layers 3 and 6 by following individual axons labeled with biocytin from the superior colliculus to the GLd. The results show that the terminal fields differ in the two layers--those in layer 3 are restricted to a line of projection, whereas those in layer 6 are elongated along the dimension orthogonal to a line of projection. Another important difference between axons that project to GLd layers 3 and 6 is that those that project to layer 6 give off collaterals to the posterior pretectal nucleus, whereas at least some axons that project to layer 3 send a collateral to the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus (GLv). These results suggest that the superior colliculus exerts separate influences on these two GLd layers, both of which project to separate targets above layer IV in the striate cortex. The biocytin method has proved useful by showing the dendritic trees of the superior colliculus cells of origin, the pathways taken by the axons (including the presence of collaterals), and the terminal fields both within and outside the GLd.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Axonal Transport
  • Axons / physiology
  • Axons / ultrastructure
  • Evoked Potentials
  • Geniculate Bodies / anatomy & histology*
  • Geniculate Bodies / physiology
  • Lysine / analogs & derivatives
  • Neurons / cytology
  • Neurons / physiology
  • Photic Stimulation
  • Superior Colliculi / anatomy & histology*
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology
  • Tupaiidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology


  • biocytin
  • Lysine