Displaced ganglion cells and the accessory optic system of pigeon

J Comp Neurol. 1981 Jan 10;195(2):279-88. doi: 10.1002/cne.901950208.


The central projection and retinal distribution of displace ganglion cells (DGC's) are described for the pigeon. Discrete, localized injections of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) into the nucleus of the basal optic root (nBOR) complex labeled as many as 4,800 DGC's in the contralateral retina. The greatest densities of DGC's were observed in the more peripheral regions of the middle and inferior temporal regions of the retina, with lowest densities occurring in the inferior nasal, red field, and foveal areas. Large HRP injections of the tectal lobes, which did not include the pretectal, accessory optic (nBOR), hypothalamic, or thalamic visual nuclei, labeled only ganglion cells within the ganglion cells layer. An HRP injection centered within the nucleus lentiformis mesencephali, also including portions of the optic tectum and optic tract, labeled only ganglion cells within the ganglion cell layer of the contralateral retina. DGC's thus appear to be the primary, if not exclusive, source of retinal afferents to the nBOR complex in pigeon. The observed retinal distribution of DGC's indicates that the areas of retina with the greatest density of cells in the receptor layer, inner nuclear layer, and ganglion cell layer are relatively devoid of DGC's. Since the nBOR complex projects directly upon the vestibulocerebellum and oculomotor nuclei, DGC's would thus appear to be involved in neural circuits that mediate oculomotor reflexes and visuomotor behavior.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Columbidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Hypothalamus / cytology
  • Mesencephalon / cytology
  • Oculomotor Nerve / cytology
  • Retina / cytology*
  • Superior Colliculi / cytology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / cytology
  • Visual Pathways / cytology