The pulvinar nucleus of Galago senegalensis.
The present study was undertaken to analyze the connections of the pulvinar nucleus in a prosimian. The experiments, which rely on the Fink-Heimer ('67) method for staining degenerating axons and their terminals, fall into two parts: first, the tracing of ascending tectal projections to the caudal thalamus and second, the tracing of projections from this thalamic target to the cortex. Large lesions of the superior colliculus resulted in dense degeneration in the caudal half of the inferior subdivision of the pulvinar complex. This pathway could be identified when the lesion was restricted to the superficial layers of the superior colliculus, signifying that it is a visual pathway. In general, the projections of the deep and superficial layers of the superior colliculus were distinct and in this respect Galago resembles Tupaia. The inferior pulvinar nucleus in turn projects to area MT, a conspicuous subdivision of the temporal cortex. The superior division of the pulvinar, in contrast to the inferior division, is not a major target of ascending projections from the superior colliculus and projects to the areas of the occipital and temporal lobe intercalated between areas MT and 17. When these results are compared with similar studies in nonprimates, notably studies of Tupaia, a striking difference in organization emerges. In Tupaia, and in distantly related mammals such as the squirrel, the target of the tecto-pulvinar system includes area 18 adjacent to area 17. This feature is important since the two parallel projection systems seem to be related to each other in terms of the way in which the zero vertical meridian is spatially represented. However, in Galago the subdivision of the pulvinar receiving projections arising from the superior colliculus does not project to area 18. Area 18 is indeed the target of pulvinar projections, but these projections arise from that portion of the pulvinar which is not a recipient of ascending tectal projections. It is not easy to see how this primate organization, if indeed the Galago is representative of primates, evolved from the organization reflected in Tupais.
Glendenning, KK; Hall, JA; Diamond, IT; Hall, WC
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