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Neurons in the Optic Tectum of Fish: Electrical Activity and Selection of Appropriate Stimulation

In all animals the optic tectum (OT) (or superior colliculi in mammals) provides guidance for external attention; this is not the only function of the tectum but is critically important for the development of behavioral visual reactions. In fish, the OT is the main primary visual center. It receives signals from most ganglion cells (GC) of different (known) types in the retina. Knowledge of the properties – both structural and physiological – of the neurons in the OT is important for understanding the mechanisms organizing behavior. We recorded extracellular electrical activity in the OT in living adult fish (Carassius auratus gibelio). Simultaneous recordings were made of the responses of retinal GC (from their axon terminals) and tectal neurons (TN), probably from cell bodies. Four types of TN are described with directional selectivity (DS) (henceforth these neurons are termed DS TN) at different (defined) depths of the OT. In addition to these, rare sporadic spikes lacking DS and arising on stimulation at any locus in a large area were consistently recorded simultaneously (superficially) with the responses of caudorostral DS GC with the electrode in one position. These are presumptively the responses of superficial tectal neurons (superficial inhibitory neurons, SIN). Various different types of stimulation were applied with the aim of obtaining clear SIN responses. Comparison of the results of our electrophysiological studies with published data (most studies in this direction have used calcium imaging in transparent Danio rerio fry) showed that DS TN were identical to glutamatergic periventricular interneurons in the OT, while SIN were identical to GABAergic inhibitory interneurons (SIN). These latter presumptively mediate detection of the main object (pop-out) in the field of vision.

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Correspondence to A. A. Zaichikova.

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Translated from Sensornye Sistemy, Vol. 35, No. 1, pp. 11–21, January–March, 2021.

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Zaichikova, A.A., Damjanović, I., Maximov, P.V. et al. Neurons in the Optic Tectum of Fish: Electrical Activity and Selection of Appropriate Stimulation. Neurosci Behav Physi 51, 993–1001 (2021). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11055-021-01157-4

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/s11055-021-01157-4

Keywords

  • optic tectum
  • fish
  • vision
  • retina
  • directional selectivity
  • tectal neurons