Topographic projections of the retina and optic tectum upon the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus in the chick

J Comp Neurol. 1979 May 1;185(1):87-106. doi: 10.1002/cne.901850106.


The topographic projections of the retina upon the optic tectum and ventral lateral geniculate nucleus (GLv) of the chick were investigated by making small intraretinal injections of 3H-proline. The retinotectal projection pattern was similar to that described for the pigeon. The retinal projection to the GLv was also topographic and was restricted to the outermost lamina of the nucleus. The anteroposterior retinal axis was reversed in the GLv relative to its orientation in the tectum but the superoinferior axis was oriented identically in both. Furthermore, the posterior retina had an enlarged area of projection in the GLv similar to the enlarged area of retinotectal projection for the "red field" found in pigeons. The tectogeniculate projection was topographic and was confined to the outermost geniculate lamina. The second-order retinotopic map made by the tectogeniculate projections was in register with the retinogeniculate projection. Although the retinal and tectal projection areas were coextensive in the outermost geniculate lamina, the grain density distributions peaked at different points along a radial path through the geniculate laminae. Injections of HRP into the optic tectum led to very light retrograde labeling of a small population of GLv cells topographically corresponding to the tectogeniculate projection zone of the injection site. The data suggest that the chick GLv is comparable to the GLv of other non-primate mammals.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Chickens / anatomy & histology*
  • Geniculate Bodies / anatomy & histology*
  • Retina / anatomy & histology*
  • Superior Colliculi / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology