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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Contralateral head movements produced by microinjection of glutamate into superior colliculus of rats: evidence for mediation by multiple output pathways.

One of the major efferent pathways of the superior colliculus crosses midline to run caudally in the contralateral predorsal bundle, innervating targets in the brain stem and eventually reaching the cervical spinal cord. A variety of evidence suggests that this tecto-reticulo-spinal pathway may mediate the orienting movements that can be evoked by tectal stimulation. However, we have recently found that orienting head movements can still be obtained in rats after section of the tecto-reticulo-spinal pathway, implying that additional pathways are also involved. The present study sought to test this implication, by taking advantage of the fact that in rats the cells of origin of the tecto-reticulo-spinal pathway are largely segregated within the lateral part of the stratum album intermediate. It is thus possible to find out whether orienting head movements can be produced by a cell-excitant from tectal regions that contain few cells of origin of the tecto-reticulo-spinal pathway. Hooded rats in an open field were filmed during microinjections of sodium L-glutamate (50 mM, 200 nl) into the superior colliculus, and the films analysed for the appearance of contralaterally directed movements of the head and body. Subsequent histological reconstruction of the injection sites indicated that such movements could be obtained from widespread areas within the superior colliculus, including not only lateral stratum album intermediale but also the deep layers, and parts of the medial superficial and intermediate layers. Moreover, sites in or close to lateral stratum album intermediate often gave circling movements with downward pointing head, whereas some sites outside lateral stratum album intermediale gave sustained immobility with the head pointing contralaterally and upwards. This evidence supports the view that tectal efferent pathways besides the tecto-reticulo-spinal pathway are involved in the control of head movement. In addition, at least some of these pathways are not collaterals of the tecto-reticulo-spinal pathway, since the movements were obtained from collicular regions with few tecto-reticulo-spinal pathway cells. Finally, the results are consistent with the view that different collicular output pathways mediate movements that have different functions.[1]


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