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

Somatosensory projections to the superior colliculus of the anaesthetized cat.

1. Experiments in anaesthetized cats have shown that the superior colliculus receives deep afferent input from the forelimb and hindlimb, but not from the large superficial neck muscles. 2. Neuronal activity in the superior colliculus is readily elicited by electrical stimulation of C2 and C3 cutaneous nerves. A significant proportion of neurones so activated have multiple receptive fields and some with no identifiable receptive fields in regions innervated by C2 and C3 nerves have receptive fields elsewhere on the body surface. Many collicular neurones activated by C2 and C3 stimulation had no identifiable receptive fields. 3. Natural stimuli to the limbs, hitherto believed to activate only cutaneous receptors, are sufficient to activate deep receptors which contribute to the neuronal responses in the superior colliculus elicited by the natural stimulus. These same natural stimuli set up transmitted vibration adequate to excite receptors some distance from the applied stimulus. 4. No evidence was found for a rigorous somatotopy in the superior colliculus. The great majority of neurones received trigeminal input which is widely distributed throughout the superior colliculus. 5. Tactile stimuli to the face are most effective in eliciting unit activity in the superior colliculus and many neurones activated by these stimuli were shown to be tectospinal neurones. In particular, the specialized receptors of the face, including the glabrous skin of the snout (the planum nasale) and the vibrissae, are major sources of input to collicular neurones including tectospinal neurones. 6. It is suggested that a major role of the superior colliculus is in the organization of head movements associated with the use of the specialized receptor organs of the face in exploratory behaviours. The superior colliculus may also be involved in the organization of aversion movements of the head.[1]


  1. Somatosensory projections to the superior colliculus of the anaesthetized cat. Abrahams, V.C., Clinton, R.J., Downey, D. J. Physiol. (Lond.) (1988) [Pubmed]
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