Cells in the cat superior colliculus which project to the ventral and dorsal lateral geniculate nuclei (VLG and DLG) have been labeled by retro-grade transport of horseradish peroxidase (HRP). We studied the depth, area, and morphology of each labeled neuron quantitatively. Our measurements show that the projection neurons to both VLG and DLG vary in laminar position, size, and morphology. Labeled cells projecting to both nuclei were concentrated within the superficial gray layer, but were also scattered through the optic layer and, after DLG injections, in the intermediate gray layer as well. Labeled cells in both groups varied greatly in size, ranging from 49-344 μm2 cross-sectional area (mean 143 μm2) for the VLG group and from 31-398 μm2 (mean 165 μm2) for the DLG group. The labeled cells also varied in morphology after both VLG and DLG injections. The majority had a granule or vertical fusiform morphology. There were fewer with a stellate morphology and almost none with a horizontal morphology. At least three types of superior colliculus cells thus appear to project to the ventral and dorsal lateral geniculate nuclei. These cell types likely give rise to distinct functional channels to these nuclei.
- Dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus
- Efferent projections
- Superior colliculus
- Ventral lateral geniculate nucleus
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