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Neuron. 2010 Jan 28;65(2):270-9. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2010.01.003.

A disynaptic relay from superior colliculus to dorsal stream visual cortex in macaque monkey.

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Systems Neurobiology Laboratories, The Salk Institute for Biological Studies, La Jolla, CA 92037, USA.


The superior colliculus (SC) is the first station in a subcortical relay of retinal information to extrastriate visual cortex. Ascending SC projections pass through pulvinar and LGN on their way to cortex, but it is not clear how many synapses are required to complete these circuits or which cortical areas are involved. To examine this relay directly, we injected transynaptic rabies virus into several extrastriate visual areas. We observed disynaptically labeled cells in superficial, retino-recipient SC layers from injections in dorsal stream areas MT and V3, but not the earliest extrastriate area, V2, nor ventral stream area V4. This robust SC-dorsal stream pathway is most likely relayed through the inferior pulvinar and can provide magnocellular-like sensory inputs necessary for motion perception and the computation of orienting movements. Furthermore, by circumventing primary visual cortex, this pathway may also underlie the remaining visual capacities associated with blindsight.

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