Nigrotectal projection to the inferior colliculus: horseradish peroxidase transport and tyrosine hydroxylase immunohistochemical studies in rats, cats, and bats

J Comp Neurol. 1989 Apr 1;282(1):98-118. doi: 10.1002/cne.902820108.


The present study investigated descending projections from the substantia nigra to the auditory tectum. Small (0.02-0.05 microliters) injections of a 30-60% aqueous solution of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) were made unilaterally into the inferior colliculus in rats, cats, and bats (Eptesicus fuscus). Tissue blocks including the substantia nigra, superior colliculus, and inferior colliculus were removed, sectioned, and processed for visualization of HRP. Results show that the substantia nigra, pars lateralis, projects to the inferior colliculus ipsilaterally. In addition, retrogradely labeled cells are found dorsal to the pars lateralis, in a column within the lateral tegmental area of the midbrain. Analysis of injection sites suggests that the principal target of this nigral projection is the dorsal and rostral pericentral region of the inferior colliculus. Immunohistochemical studies with an antibody to tyrosine hydroxylase demonstrate catecholaminergic neurons within the pars lateralis and lateral tegmentum that are similar in location and morphology to one class of HRP retrogradely labeled cells within these structures. These immunohistochemical studies also demonstrate a plexus of fine, varicose tyrosine hydroxylase-positive axons in the rostral pericentral region of the colliculus. The presence of this nigrotectal projection to the inferior colliculus is discussed in relation to its possible role in the control of acousticomotor behavior.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Chiroptera
  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Inferior Colliculi / cytology*
  • Male
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Substantia Nigra / cytology*
  • Superior Colliculi / cytology*
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase


  • Horseradish Peroxidase
  • Tyrosine 3-Monooxygenase