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Brain Res. 1989 Apr 10;484(1-2):304-13.

The cerebral and cerebellar connections of pretecto-thalamic and pretecto-olivary neurons in the anterior pretectal nucleus of the cat.

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  • 1Department of Anatomy, School of Medicine, Kanazawa University, Japan.


The neuronal connections of the anterior pretectal nucleus (PTA) were investigated in the cat. For the light microscopy, the retrograde double-labeling technique by means of Fluoro-Gold (FG) and horseradish peroxidase conjugated to wheat germ agglutinin (WGA-HRP) was used. Following injections of one tracer into the central lateral nucleus of the thalamus (CL) and the other into the dorsal accessory olivary nucleus (DAO), distributions of labeled neurons in the PTA were observed. Most of the labeled neurons were single-labeled either with FG or with WGA-HRP. The result indicated that pretecto-thalamic projection neurons were distributed throughout the whole extent of the PTA, whereas pretecto-olivary projection neurons were located in a restricted area of the ventral part of the PTA. Only a very small number of double-labeled neurons were found in the PTA. These two efferent projections thus seemed to be derived from different populations of PTA neurons. For the electron microscopy, a combination of retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) and anterograde degeneration technique was used. After HRP injections into the CL combined with lesions either in the motor cortex (MCx) or in the anterior interpositus nucleus of the cerebellum (Cbl), some degenerating axon terminals originating from the cerebrum or cerebellum were found to synapse with retrogradely labeled pretecto-thalamic projection neurons. We have already observed direct cerebral and cerebellar projections to the pretecto-olivary projection neurons (J. Comp. Neurol., 259 (1987) 348-363). We conclude that the two different populations of PTA neurons comprise two different kinds of neuronal circuitries, i.e. MCx-PTA-CL-MCx and Cbl-PTA-DAO-Cbl, and that these two circuitries might interrelate with each other in the PTA at the cellular level.

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