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Unilateral, discrete injections of red and green fluorescent latex microspheres or injections of wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) were made into the ferret's superior colliculus (SC) to characterize the topographic organization of the projection from the parabigeminal nucleus (PBN). Retrograde labelling in the PBN revealed that this nucleus projects bilaterally to the SC, although the heaviest projection arises from the ipsilateral PBN. The PBN-SC projection demonstrates a highly ordered organization along the rostral-caudal axis; rostral PBN projects to rostral SC and caudal PBN projects to caudal SC. The caudoventral and rostrodorsal areas of the PBN project mainly to the ipsilateral and contralateral SC, respectively. The ipsilateral pathway terminates principally in the caudal region of the SC, while the contralateral projection terminates predominantly in rostral SC. Ipsilaterally, there are slightly more neurons, located mainly in the ventral PBN, that project to the lateral SC than those, located largely in the dorsal part of the nucleus, that target the medial SC. The contralateral PBN mainly projects to the rostrolateral quadrant of the SC. These results indicate that each quadrant of the SC is innervated principally by a restricted part of the PBN: the caudolateral quadrant, which receives the heaviest ipsilateral input, and the caudomedial quadrant are targeted predominantly by the ventral and dorsal portions, respectively, of the ipsilateral PBN; the rostrolateral quadrant by the contralateral PBN, and the rostromedial quadrant, which receives the weakest input, by the dorsal portion of the nucleus on both sides. These findings suggest that activity in the PBN is relayed to distinct regions of the SC in the form of a highly ordered topographic projection. The adjacent lateral tegmentum (ALT) also projects heavily to the SC, principally on the ipsilateral side. The ALT projection to the ipsilateral SC appears to be organized in a less orderly fashion, and terminates principally in caudal SC, particularly the caudolateral quadrant. No topography was apparent for the contralateral projection.

Original publication




Journal article


Brain Res

Publication Date





217 - 232


Animals, Brain Mapping, Ferrets, Horseradish Peroxidase, Latex, Mesencephalon, Microinjections, Microscopy, Fluorescence, Microspheres, Superior Colliculi, Tegmentum Mesencephali, Visual Pathways