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Exp Brain Res. 2000 Mar;131(1):44-56.

Cross-correlated and oscillatory visual responses of superficial-layer and tecto-reticular neurones in cat superior colliculus.

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Department of Biology, Université de Montréal, QC, Canada.


The present study examined, in the superior colliculus (SC) of anaesthetised cats, the functional connectivity between superficial-layer neurones (SLNs) and tectoreticular neurones (TRNs: collicular output cells). TRNs were antidromically identified by electrical stimulation of the predorsal bundle. The auto- and cross-correlation histograms of visual responses of both types of neurones were recorded and analysed. A delayed, sharp peak in cross-correlograms allowed us to verify whether SLN and TRN cells were coupled; in addition, oscillatory activities were compared to verify if rhythmic responses of SLN sites were transmitted to TRN sites. We found that oscillatory activity was rarely observed in spontaneous activity of superficial (1/74) and TRN sites (1/48). Moving light bars induced oscillation in 31% (23/74) of the superficial-layer and in 23% (11/48) of the TRN sites. The strength of the rhythmic responses was determined by specific ranges of stimulus velocity in 83% (19/23) and 64% (7/11) of oscillating SLN and TRN sites, respectively. Frequencies of oscillations ranged between 5 and 125 Hz and were confined, for 53% of the cells, to the 5-20 Hz band. Thus, the band-width of frequencies of the stimulus-related oscillations in the superior colliculus was broader than the gamma range. Analysis of cross-correlation histograms revealed a significant predominant peak with a mean delay of 2.7+/-0.9 ms in 46% (17/37) of SLN-TRN pairs. Most correlated SLN-TRN pairs (88%: 15/17) had superimposed receptive fields, suggesting they were functionally interconnected. However, individual oscillatory frequencies of correlated and oscillatory SLN and TRN cells were never the same (0/8). Together, these results suggest that the neurones in collicular superficial layer contact TRNs and, consequently, support the idea that the superficial layers contribute to collicular outputs producing eye- and head-orienting movements.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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