Tectal and related target areas of spinal and dorsal column nuclear projections in hedgehog tenrecs

Somatosens Mot Res. 1993;10(3):339-53. doi: 10.3109/08990229309028842.


The terminal distributions of spinal and dorsal column nuclear projections to tectum, pretectum, and central gray of hedgehog tenrecs (Echinops telfairi and Setifer setosus) were investigated using anterograde axonal flow and various tracer substances. In the inferior colliculus, the densest and most extensive mesencephalic projections were found within the pericentral regions. One target area, referred to as the external portion of the inferior colliculus, was represented as a semicircle of grain patches lateral and caudal to the central nucleus. This region received somesthetic afferents from the dorsal column nuclei and from spinal segments at various levels. In contrast, after high cervical injections, the pericentral portion dorsomedial to the rostral half of the central nucleus was labeled almost exclusively. This area of labeling was distinct from the labeling in the central gray and might be best compared with the intercollicular zone in other species. The superior colliculus received projections predominantly from the high cervical cord; minor projections also arose from lumbar spinal segments and the dorsal column nuclei. The terminal field covered roughly the caudal half of the colliculus and involved the stratum griseum intermediale in a patch-like fashion. Some labeling was also found in the stratum griseum profundum and in the stratum griseum superficiale. Other than in the colliculi, weak pretectal projections were observed following dorsal column nuclear injections, while the nucleus of Darkschewitsch was labeled best following lumbosacral injections. All mesencephalic target areas were labeled consistently on the contralateral side, while their ipsilateral side was involved to a varying degree: The relatively most prominent ipsilateral labeling was seen in the central gray, being roughly similar on both sides; scarcely any labeling was noted in the ipsilateral superior colliculus. Tectal injections of retrograde tracer, in addition, revealed a considerable number of labeled neurons in a relatively cell-poor region immediately ventral to the high cervical dorsal horn. This region might correspond to the lateral cervical nucleus, an aggregation of neurons that so far has only been demonstrated in higher mammals.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping
  • Dominance, Cerebral / physiology
  • Ganglia, Spinal / anatomy & histology*
  • Hedgehogs / anatomy & histology*
  • Inferior Colliculi / anatomy & histology*
  • Periaqueductal Gray / anatomy & histology
  • Spinal Cord / anatomy & histology*
  • Superior Colliculi / anatomy & histology*
  • Tectum Mesencephali / anatomy & histology*