Columnar projections from the cholinergic nucleus isthmi to the optic tectum in chicks (Gallus gallus): A possible substrate for synchronizing tectal channels

Yuan Wang, Harald Luksch, Nicholas C. Brecha, Harvey J. Karten

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

107 Scopus citations

Abstract

The cholinergic division of the avian nucleus isthmi, the homolog of the mammalian nucleus parabigeminalis, is composed of the pars parvocellularis (Ipc) and pars semilunaris (SLu). Ipc and SLu were studied with in vivo and in vitro tracing and intracellular filling methods. 1) Both nuclei have reciprocal homotopic connections with the ipsilateral optic tectum. The SLu connection is more diffuse than that of Ipc. 2) Tectal inputs to Ipc and SLu are Brn3a-immunoreactive neurons in the inner sublayer of layer 10. Tectal neurons projecting on Ipc possess "shepherd's crook" axons and radial dendritic fields in layers 2-13. 3) Neurons in the mid-portion of Ipc possess a columnar spiny dendritic field. SLu neurons have a large, nonoriented spiny dendritic field. 4) Ipc terminals form a cylindrical brush-like arborization (35-50 μm wide) in layers 2-10, with extremely dense boutons in layers 3-6, and a diffuse arborization in layers 11-13. SLu neurons terminate in a wider column (120-180 μm wide) lacking the dust-like boutonal features of Ipc and extend in layers 4c-13 with dense arborizations in layers 4c, 6, and 9-13. 5) Ipc and SLu contain specialized fast potassium ion channels. We propose that dense arborizations of Ipc axons may be directed to the distal dendritic bottlebrushes of motion detecting tectal ganglion cells (TGCs). They may provide synchronous activation of a group of adjacent bottlebrushes of different TGCs of the same type via their intralaminar processes, and cross channel activation of different types of TGCs within the same column of visual space.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)7-35
Number of pages29
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume494
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Jan 2006
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Motion detecting
  • Nucleus isthmi pars parvocellularis
  • Nucleus isthmi pars semilunaris
  • Nucleus parabigeminalis
  • Tectal ganglion cell
  • Timing

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