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J Comp Neurol. 1989 Jan 22;279(4):629-52.

Visual projections to the pontine nuclei in the rabbit: orthograde and retrograde tracing studies with WGA-HRP.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy and Developmental Biology, University College London, England.


Visual projections to the pontine nuclei in the rabbit were examined by means of both orthograde and retrograde tracing of WGA-HRP. The tecto-pontine projection was examined following microinjections of WGA-HRP in the right superior colliculus. The projection to the pontine nuclei is strictly ipsilateral and terminates at middle and caudal levels of the pons. The projection is absent in rostral pontine nuclei. The strongest projection is to the dorsal border of the dorsolateral pontine nuclei and is the only projection seen when the primary injection site is confined to superficial laminae. When the primary injection site also includes intermediate and deep laminae, patches of labelled terminals are also seen within dorsolateral, lateral, peduncular, paramedian, and ventral pontine nuclei as well as in the contralateral nucleus reticularis tegmenti pontis. The striate corticopontine projection was also examined with orthograde tracing of WGA-HRP. The striate corticopontine projection is ipsilateral. Most labelled terminals were seen in dorsolateral and lateral pontine nuclei throughout the rostral half of pons with some additional terminal labelling in paramedian and peduncular nuclei. Labelled terminals were also seen in ventral pontine nuclei throughout the middle and caudal levels of the pons. In a retrograde tracing study, visual projections to the pontine nuclei were examined following microinjections of WGA-HRP into the pontine nuclei. Labelled cells were seen ipsilaterally in superficial and deep laminae of the superior colliculus and in layer V of striate and surrounding occipital cortex. The pontine nuclei also receive ipsilateral projections from the ventral lateral geniculate, the nucleus of the optic tract, anterior and posterior pretectal nuclei, and the dorsal and medial terminal nuclei of the accessory optic system. These pathways are potential sources of visual input to the cerebellum.

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