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Brain Res. 1983 Dec;287(3):247-97.

Functional anatomy of the tectum mesencephali of the goldfish. An explorative analysis of the functional implications of the laminar structural organization of the tectum.


The present paper is aimed at an exploration of the possible functional significance of the laminar organization of the goldfish tectum at both the cellular and the synaptic level. For this purpose (1) the data concerning the structure of the teleostean tectum are surveyed, (2) a conceptual framework of the intratectal connectivity in the goldfish is proposed, (3) the electrophysiological data concerning the teleosteam tectum are surveyed and (4) the degree of correlation between the structural and physiological data available is discussed. Apart from the retina, tectal afferents originate from at least 10 other brain centers. At least 5 of these projections appear to be topographically organized. Tectal afferents, neurons as well as synapses reveal a characteristic intratectal lamination pattern. Tectal efferents project to at least 10 brain centers, and have until now been shown to arise from 6 cell types. The structural data surveyed allow the construction of a conceptual framework of tectal circuitry on the basis of 3 starting points. (1) The existence of at least 8 presynaptic zones or laminae, each containing a characteristic set of presynaptic structures (afferents and axons of interneurons). (2) The fact that the tectal postsynaptic structures (somata and dendrites of tectal neurons) each have a characteristic location, extension and synaptic density, which determines the relative importance of the different presynaptic zones for each cell type. (3) The laminar specificity hypothesis, which implies that presynaptic structures that coexist in a particular presynaptic zone terminate without preference on all types of postsynaptic structures within that zone. The conceptual framework of tectal circuitry is quantified in terms of connectivity index and connective importance. Analysis of the framework constructed leads to a detailed description of the intratectal pathways involved in the processing of the 4 main streams of tectal input (i.e. visual, toral, telencephalic and 'deep' input). It was concluded that the laminar organization of the tectum is primarily relevant for multimodal integration and that the tectal cell types each receive a characteristic sample out of the multimodal information available in the different tectal layers.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)

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