Diencephalic connections of the superior colliculus in the hedgehog tenrec

Exp Brain Res. 1996 Oct;111(3):356-70. doi: 10.1007/BF00228725.


Using different tracer substances the pathways connecting the superior colliculus with the diencephalon were studied in the Madagascan hedgehog tenrec (Echinops telfairi), a nocturnal insectivore with tiny eyes, a small and little differentiated superior colliculus and a visual cortex with no obvious fourth granular layer. The most prominent tecto-thalamic projection terminated in the ipsilateral dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. The entire region receiving contralateral retinal afferents was labeled with variable density. In addition, there was a widespread, homogeneously distributed collicular input to the lateralis posterior-pulvinar complex and a distinct tectal projection to the suprageniculate nucleus. The latter projections were bilateral with a clear ipsilateral predominance. Among the intra- and paralaminar nuclei the centralis lateralis complex was most heavily labeled on both sides, followed by the nucleus centralis medialis. The paralamellar portion of the nucleus medialis dorsalis and the nucleus parafascicularis received sparse projections. A clear projection to the nucleus ventralis medialis could not be demonstrated but its presence was not entirely excluded either. There were also projections to medial thalamic nuclei, particularly the reuniens complex and the nucleus paraventricularis thalami. The main tecto-subthalamic target regions were the zona incerta, the dorsal hypothalamus and distinct subdivisons of the ventral lateral geniculate nucleus. These regions also gave rise to projections to the superior colliculus, as did the intergeniculate leaflet. The pathways oriented toward the visual or frontal cortex and the projections possibly involved in limbic and circadian mechanisms were compared with the connectivity patterns reported in mammals with more differentiated brains. Particular attention was given to the tenrec's prominent tecto-geniculate projection, the presumed W- or K-pathway directed toward the supragranular layers.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Diencephalon / anatomy & histology*
  • Geniculate Bodies / anatomy & histology
  • Hedgehogs / anatomy & histology*
  • Hypothalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Microinjections
  • Superior Colliculi / anatomy & histology*
  • Thalamic Nuclei / anatomy & histology
  • Visual Cortex / anatomy & histology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology