The antidromic activation of tectal neurons by electrical stimuli applied to the caudal medulla oblongata in the toad,Bufo bufo L.
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In order to specify the tectal projection to the bulbar/spinal regions, the antidromic responses of the physiologically identified tectal neurons as well as the gross antidromic field responses in the optic tectum to electrical stimuli applied to the caudal medulla were examined in the paralyzed common toad,Bufo bufo.
The antidromic field potential was recorded in the optic tectum in response to electrical stimuli applied to the ventral paramedian portion of the contralateral caudal medulla (where the crossed tecto-spinal pathway of Rubinson (1968) and Lázár (1969) runs), but generally not when they were applied to varius parts of the ipsilateral caudal medulla.
The antidromic field potential was largest at the superficial part of Layer 6 or at the border between Layers 6 and 7 of the optic tectum, indicating that neurons in these layers project to the contralateral caudal medulla.
Mapping experiments of the antidromic field potential over the optic tectum showed that the antidromic field potential was recorded mainly in the lateral part of it, indicating that this part of the optic tectum is the main source of projection neurons to the contralateral caudal medulla.
Various classes of tectal neurons as well as retinal ganglion neurons were identified from the characteristics of the response properties to moving visual stimuli and the properties of the receptive fields. Of these, the Class T1, T2, T3, T4, T5(l), T5(2), T5(3), and T5(4) tectal neurons were activated antidromically by stimuli applied to the contralateral caudal medulla. Only a limited proportion of the Class T5(1) neurons was activated antidromically by stimuli applied to the ipsilateral caudal medulla. On the other hand, the Class T7 and T8 neurons, as well as the Class R2, R3, and R4 retinal neurons, were not activated antidromically by stimuli applied to the caudal medulla of either side.
These results suggest a possibility that these tectal neurons which project to the medullary regions form the substrate of the sensorimotor interfacing and contribute to the initiation or coordination of the visually guided behavior, such as preycatching.
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