Cell and Tissue Research

, Volume 248, Issue 2, pp 439–448 | Cite as

A Golgi study of the isthmic nuclei in the pigeon (Columba Iivia)

  • Onur Güntürkün


The isthmic nuclei of the pigeon were studied with the use of three different Golgi techniques. The nucleus isthmo-opticus (IO) consists of a single cell type in which all dendrites of one neuron take the same direction and ramify at identical distances from the perikaryon to form dense dendritic arborizations. The cell bodies of the IO neurons form two parallel layers. The dendrites of these neurons always extend to the area between the two layers so that the dendritic arborizations of opposite neurons overlap. A model of the cellular organization of the IO was constructed based upon these morphological characteristics. The neurons of the n. isthmi/pars parvocellularis (Ipc) have oval perikarya and long, smooth, infrequently branching dendrites. All neurons except those at the borders of the nucleus show the same dorsoventral orientation in their dendritic arborizations and together with their afferents seem to have a columnar organization. The dendrites of the neurons located at the margin of the nucleus ramify within the Ipc along its border. The n. semilunaris (Slu) consists of neurons with round somata that have on an average three dendrites with small spines. The axons leave the nucleus from the medial side and join the lemniscus lateralis. The neurons of the n. isthmi/pars magnocellularis (Imc) comprise a generalized isodendritic type resembling the cells of the reticular formation. Axons from the tectum penetrate the nucleus, making numerous en-passant contacts with several neurons.

Key words

Isthmic nuclei Golgi study Centrifugal system Optic tectum Reticular formation Pigeon 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • Onur Güntürkün
    • 1
  1. 1.Experimentelle Tierpsychologie, Psychologisches Institut, Ruhr-Universität BochumBochumFederal Republic of Germany

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