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Behav Brain Res. 1981 Sep;3(2):201-22.

Organization of somatosensory input to the deep collicular laminae in hamster.


Retrograde transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP) was used to delineate the sources of somatosensory input to the hamster's superior colliculus. Cells in the ipsilateral somatosensory cortex and contralateral dorsal horn of the spinal cord, dorsal column nuclei, lateral cervical nucleus, internal basilar nucleus, nucleus of the spinal trigeminal tract and deep layers of the superior colliculus were labeled following HRP injections centered in the deep tectal laminae. The response characteristics of somatosensory corticotectal, spinotectal and intertectal neurons were investigated with extracellular single unit recording methods and, with the exception of the fact that the receptive fields of corticotectal and spinotectal neurons were consistently smaller than those of cells recorded in the colliculus, the response characteristics of these neurons were quite similar to those of somatosensory neurons in the deep layers of the tectum. Lesions of the somatosensory cortex or dorsal half of the spinal cord were also combined with single unit recording in the colliculus to determine whether or not such damage altered the incidence and/or response characteristics of deep layer somatosensory cells. These lesions had no appreciable effect upon the functional organization of the deep tectal laminae. The implications of these results with regard to the convergence of visual and somatosensory information in the tectum are discussed.

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