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IntroductionIn mammals, the roof of the midbrain (the mesencephalic tec-tum) consists primarily of the paired superior and inferior col-liculi, which are visible on the dorsal surface of the brainstem asfour symmetrically arranged bumps, the corpora quadrigemina.The superior colliculus (SC) is a complex, multilayered structure(Huerta and Harting, 1984; May, 2005). Its superficial layers re-ceive visual information, whereas its deep layers receive conver-gent visual, auditory and somatosensory information, and areinvolved in the genesis of motor responses, including gaze con-trol and head and pinna postural adjustments (Sparks and Nel-son, 1987; King, 2004). The inferior colliculus (IC) occupies aReceived April 26, 2007; revised Oct. 10, 2007; accepted Oct. 11, 2007.ThisworkwassupportedbytheSpanishMinistryofScienceandTechnologyGrantsBFI2000/1358andBFU2004-05909(E.S.),JuntadeCastillayLeo´nGrantsSA097/01andSA007C05(E.S.),NationalInstitutesofHealth(NIH)GrantDC04398 (D.C.F.), and the NIH Short Term Research Training Grant and the University of North Carolina MedicalAlumniAssociationEndowmentFund(A.F.M.).A.V.wassupportedbyPredoctoralFellowshipBEFI00/9418fromtheInstituto de la Salud Carlos III and M.-A.A. was supported by Predoctoral Fellowship FPU AP2002/3330 from theSpanish Ministry of Education. We thank Albert S. Berrebi, Ferna´n Jaramillo, Enrico Mugnaini, Kirsten K. Osen, andNobuo Suga for helpful discussions and comments on this manuscript, Manuel S. Malmierca for assistance with the3Dreconstructions,andEnriqueA.Lo´pez-PovedaandAnaAlves-Pintoforassistancewiththestatisticalanalysis.The´humanbrainstemsweremadeavailablebyAngelSantos-BrizandMarı´a-DoloresLuden˜a,thesectionsofthecrab-eating monkey brainstems by Javier Cervera-Paz and Manuel Manrique, and those of ferret brainstems by FranciscoClasca´. E.S. discovered the TLC, designed all morphological experiments, supervised the project, and wrote thismanuscript. A.V. did most of the tract-tracing experiments and the 3D reconstructions. A.F.M. and D.C.F. performedthe electrophysiological recordings. M.-A.A. studied the comparative anatomy of the TLC and performed the mor-phometric and stereological analyses.CorrespondenceshouldbeaddressedtoDr.EnriqueSaldan˜a,LaboratoriodeNeurobiologı´adelaAudicio´n,De-partamentodeBiologı´aCelularyPatolog´ıa,FacultaddeMedicina,UniversidaddeSalamanca,37007Salamanca,Spain. E-mail: saldana@usal.es.DOI:10.1523/JNEUROSCI.1892-07.2007Copyright © 2007 Society for Neuroscience 0270-6474/07/2713108-09$15.00/0
ways (Aitkin, 1986). The left and right SC are interconnected bynumerous axons that travel in the rostral half of the commissureof the SC (CoSC) (Edwards, 1977; Olivier et al., 2000); likewise,the left and right IC are interconnected through the commissureof the IC (CoIC) (for review, see Saldan˜a and Mercha´n, 2005).Whereas the main portions of the SC and IC have been exten-sively analyzed anatomically and functionally (Hall and Moscho-vakis, 2004; Winer and Schreiner, 2005), our studies focused on aregion of the midbrain tectum that has not been analyzed in detailpreviously, namely the paramedian region that includes the me-dialmost portions of the deep SC and the IC. Here, we report thatthis medial territory of the tectum contains a previously uniden-tified nucleus of the rat’s midbrain. We refer to it as the tectallongitudinal column (TLC) because of its shape and position. Weprovide evidence based on cytoarchitecture, fiber connectionsand basic electrophysiology that the TLC is a distinct nucleus ofthe rat brain. Furthermore, we demonstrate that the TLC ispresent in a large variety of mammals, including humans.Materials and MethodsExperimental animals.For the neuroanatomical studies, Sprague Dawleyrats of either sex (body weight, 190–210 g) were cared for and used incompliance with European Union regulations concerning the use of an-imals in biomedical research, and the experimental procedures were ap-proved and supervised by the Animal Care and Use Committee of theUniversity of Salamanca. For the surgical procedures, including the tran-scardial perfusion of fixatives, the animals were deeply anesthetized witha mixture of ketamine HCl (80 mg/kg body weight) and xylazine (6mg/kg body weight) administered intramuscularly.The electrophysiological recordings were obtained from Sprague
We have identified a novel nucleus of the mammalian brain and termed it the tectal longitudinal column (TLC). Basic histologic stains,tract-tracing techniques and three-dimensional reconstructions reveal that the rat TLC is a narrow, elongated structure spanning themidbraintectumlongitudinally.Thispairednucleusislocatedclosetothemidline,immediatelydorsaltotheperiaqueductalgraymatter.It occupies what has traditionally been considered the most medial region of the deep superior colliculus and the most medial region ofthe inferior colliculus. The TLC differs from the neighboring nuclei of the superior and inferior colliculi and the periaqueductal gray by itsdistinct connections and cytoarchitecture. Extracellular electrophysiological recordings show that TLC neurons respond to auditorystimuli with physiologic properties that differ from those of neurons in the inferior or superior colliculi. We have identified the TLC inrodents, lagomorphs, carnivores, nonhuman primates, and humans, which indicates that the nucleus is conserved across mammals. Thediscovery of the TLC reveals an unexpected level of longitudinal organization in the mammalian tectum and raises questions as to theparticipation of this mesencephalic region in essential, yet completely unexplored, aspects of multisensory and/or sensorimotorintegration.Key words:superior colliculus; inferior colliculus; auditory; periaqueductal gray; midbrain tectum; multisensory; sensorimotor; tract-tracing; electrophysiology; 3D reconstruction; rat; human
EnriqueSalda˜na,1,2Antonio Vin˜uela,1,2Allen F. Marshall,3Douglas C. Fitzpatrick,3and M.-Auxiliadora Aparicio1,21Laboratory for the Neurobiology of Hearing, Department of Cell Biology and Pathology, Medical School, University of Salamanca, 37007-Salamanca, S pain,2Neuroscience Institute of Castilla y Leo´n (INCyL), University of Salamanca, 37007-Salamanca, Spain, and3Department of Otolaryngology–Head and NeckSurgery, University of North Carolina School of Medicine, Chapel Hill, North Carolina 27599-7070
13108The Journal of Neuroscience, November 28, 200727(48):13108–13116
The TLC: A Novel Auditory Nucleus of the Mammalian Brain
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