Intermediate and deep layers of the macaque superior colliculus: A golgi study

Terence P. Ma, Heng‐Wei ‐W Cheng, Julie A. Czech, Jose A. Rafols

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38 Scopus citations


We studied the intermediate and deep laayers of the macaque superior colliculus by means of the Golgi technique in an attempt to better understand the structural features of this important oculomotor center. For this study, we examined the optic (stratum opticum, SO), intermediate gray (stratum griseum intermedium, SGI), intermediate white (stratunm album intermedium, SAI), and deep gray (stratum griseum profundum, SGP) layers. These are the four layers in which neurons having saccade‐related activity are localized. We identified eight neuronal types on the basis of differences in somatic and dendritic morphologies: large multipolar neurons (Type I); large pyramidal neurons (Type II); large fusiform neurons (Type III); medium fusiform neurons with spiny, radially. Oriented dendrites (Type IV); dedium round neurons with fan‐shaped dendritic trees (Type V); medium stellate neurons with varicose dendrites (Type VI); medium multipolar neurons with robust, spiny dendrites (Type VII); and local interneurons (Type VIII). Most neuronal, tyupes possessed features thakt are homologous to presynaptic dendritic features in other brain centers. With the exception of the kedium stellate neurons (Type VI), Which are aspinous, and the local interneurons (Type VIII), which are sparsely spinous, all other types had a moderate number of spines on their dendrites. Dendrites, that terminated in the optic layer had specializations not observed elsewhere, suggesting that these tips may sample a tectala afferent that is not present in the more ventral layers. These eight types comprise all the neuronala morphologies observed in a large number of Golgi‐impregnated macaque brains (n = 50). We suggest that they represent the full rage of neuron types in the saccade‐related layers of the macaque tectum.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)92-110
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 1 1990


  • oculomotor system
  • primate
  • saccade
  • tectum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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