The cytoarchitecture of the torus semicircularis in the Tegu lizard, Tupinambis nigropunctatus
The torus semicircularis (TS) of the Tegu lizard extends from the superficial caudal mesencephalon, dorsal to the exiting trochlear nerve, to a position ventral to the middle part of the optic tectum and its ventricle. It has an oblique orientation with the caudal pole abutting the midline while the rostal end is lateral and slightly ventral. The TS consists of a central nucleus and several adjacent cell groups. The central nucleus and the laminar nucleus, situated medially, extend the entire length of the TS while the cortical nucleus, situated dorsally and laterally, is present only in the caudal superficial portion. The central nucleus is composed of ovoid neurons with branched, radiating dendrites. The dendrites are directed medially and laterally with spines on the distal portion of the dendritic tree. The laminar nucleus consists of three to five neuronal layers. It is mainly composed of fusiform neurons with one dendritic trunk from each extremity of the soma. There is little branching and few dendritic spines. The cortical nucleus is a laminated region consisting of alternating layers of neurons and lateral lemniscal fibers. The neurons of the superficial layers are fusiform with their long axis perpendicular to the long axis of the brainstem. They possess two main dendritic trunks which parallel the laminae and are covered with dendritic spines. The deeper layers consist of pyramidal neurons with three dendritic trunks, secondary branches, and few spines. The long axis of these neurons extends from the center of the TS to the periphery. Two dendritic trunks extend dorsally or laterally towards the surface, while the third extends towards the central nucleus. The dendrites, thus, extend across the laminae. In addition, a cell-free lateral zone is described.
Retinal projections in larval, transforming and adult sea lamprey, Petromyzon marinus
Unilateral enucleations were performed on larval, transforming and adult sea lampreys. Following 5 to 11 days survival, the animals were sacrificed and the brains were processed using a modified Fink-Heimer technique. In larvae, contralateral optic projections were found to the posterior one-third of the dorsal thalamus, the pretectum, and the optic tectum. No ipsilateral projections were present in the larvae. In enucleated transforming and adult lampreys, degenerating axons were observed in the optic chiasm and bilaterally in the optic tracts. Retinal efferents projected bilaterally to a lateral neuropil region ("tractus opticus") in the posterior one-half of the dorsal thalamus. Contralaterally, a conspicuous dorsomedial cell group (lateral geniculate nucleus) also received a projection. Contralateral projections to the superficial layers of the pretectum and optic tectum were observed. Ipsilateral retinal projections to the pretectum and optic tectum in transforming and adult lampreys were restricted to a small zone at the ventrolateral margins of the pretectum and tectum. The changes in distribution of retinofugal projections during transformation appear to be occurring at the same time that the eye differentiates into its adult form.