Some visual and other connections to the cerebellum of the pigeon

J Comp Neurol. 1977 Aug 1;174(3):535-52. doi: 10.1002/cne.901740307.


By anatomical techniques it has been shown that folia VIc-IXc of the pigeon cerebellum receive inputs from the following groups of neurons: the medial and lateral pontine nuclei, the superficial synencephalic nucleus, the medial spiriform nucleus, the inferior olive, and the deep cerebellar nuclei. From all but the last of these, the projection is mainly crossed, though the uncrossed component from the lateral pontine nucleus is not insubstantial. The input from the superficial synencephalic nucleus provides a direct pathway from the retina to the cerebellum (folia VIc, VII, VIII and IXc). Less direct visual pathways reach the cerebellum via the following routes: (i) the superficial synencephalic nucleus projects ipsilaterally to the lateral pontine nucleus and sparsely to the inferior olive; (ii) the tectum projects ipsilaterally to the lateral and medial pontine nuclei, though the latter connection is sparse. In electrophysiological experiments, the importance of the tecto-pontine component of the projection has been demonstrated by cooling the tectum while recording visual responses from the cerebellum. The visual receptive fields of pontine cells have been analysed. They vary in extent from 10 degrees to the whole monocular field. They respond best to moving targets, preferring speeds of 20 to 60 degrees/second, and are usually direction-selective.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / cytology
  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Cortex / cytology*
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / cytology
  • Cold Temperature
  • Columbidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Olivary Nucleus / cytology
  • Pons / cytology
  • Pons / physiology
  • Superior Colliculi / cytology
  • Superior Colliculi / physiology
  • Visual Fields
  • Visual Pathways / cytology*
  • Visual Pathways / physiology