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Brain Behav Evol. 1995;46(4-5):209-23.

The dorsal thalamus of jawed vertebrates: a comparative viewpoint.

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Ivory Tower Neurobiology Institute, Arlington, VA 22207, USA.


In anamniotes, the dorsal thalamus comprises: (1) a caudal division, the collothalamus, which receives its predominant input from the midbrain roof and projects ipsilaterally to the telencephalon, predominantly to the striatum, and (2) a rostral division, the lemnothalamus, which predominantly receives a direct retinal (lemniscal) input and projects bilaterally to the telencephalon, predominantly to the pallium. In amniotes, collothalamic nuclei relay visual, auditory, and somatosensory-multisensory inputs from the midbrain roof to the ipsilateral telencephalon, terminating in both striatum and pallium. For example, the collothalamic visual nuclei consist of the LP-pulvinar complex in mammals and nucleus rotundus in diapsid reptiles, birds, and turtles. Among amniotes, the latter nuclei are homologous to each other as discrete nuclei, as are the collothalamic auditory and collothalamic somatosensory-multisensory nuclei. Lemnothalamic nuclei (and nuclear groups) in amniotes predominantly (and/or plesiomorphically) receive lemniscal inputs; some project to the telencephalon bilaterally, and most, in contrast to collothalamic nuclei, do not project to the striatum. In mammals, the lemnothalamic nuclei include most of those in the anterior, medial, intralaminar, and ventral nuclear groups and the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus. In diapsid reptiles, they include the dorsomedial and dorsolateral anterior nuclei and the dorsal lateral optic nucleus; comparable nuclei are present in birds and turtles, with birds additionally having a discrete somatosensory lemniscal relay nucleus. These lemnothalamic nuclei in each amniote radiation are homologous as a field to the lemnothalamus (i.e., nucleus anterior) in anamniotes. Both divisions of the dorsal thalamus were elaborated to some degree in the common ancestral amniote stock. A further major elaboration of the lemnothalamus characterized the ancestral stock of mammals and may have been one of the key events in early mammalian evolution. Birds have independently, to a lesser degree, elaborated the lemnothalamus.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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