Distinct cell types in the superficial superior colliculus project to the dorsal lateral geniculate and lateral posterior thalamic nuclei

Samuel D. Gale, Gabe J. Murphy
2018 Journal of Neurophysiology  
Gale SD, Murphy GJ. Distinct cell types in the superficial superior colliculus project to the dorsal lateral geniculate and lateral posterior thalamic nuclei. The superficial layers of the superior colliculus (sSC) receive retinal input and project to thalamic regions, the dorsal lateral geniculate (dLGN) and lateral posterior (LP; or pulvinar) nuclei, that convey visual information to cortex. A critical step toward understanding the functional impact of sSC neurons on these parallel
more » ... tical pathways is determining whether different classes of sSC neurons, which are known to respond to different features of visual stimuli, innervate overlapping or distinct thalamic targets. Here, we identified a transgenic mouse line that labels sSC neurons that project to dLGN but not LP. We utilized selective expression of fluorophores and channelrhodopsin in this and previously characterized mouse lines to demonstrate that distinct cell types give rise to sSC projections to dLGN and LP. We further show that the glutamatergic sSC cell type that projects to dLGN also provides input to the sSC cell type that projects to LP. These results clarify the cellular origin of parallel sSC-thalamo-cortical pathways and reveal an interaction between these pathways via local connections within the sSC. NEW & NOTEWORTHY The superficial layers of the superior colliculus (sSC) project to two visual thalamic targets: the dorsal lateral geniculate (dLGN) and lateral posterior (LP) nuclei. We show that distinct excitatory sSC cell types give rise to these projections; stellate cells project to dLGN and wide-field (WF) cells project to LP. Moreover, these pathways interact via a connection within the sSC from stellate to WF cells. REFERENCES Albano JE, Norton TT, Hall WC. Laminar origin of projections from the superficial layers of the superior colliculus in the tree shrew, Tupaia glis.
doi:10.1152/jn.00248.2018 pmid:29897837 fatcat:ljt6jef6pnbwzpromnlxmoex4m