Life and Medical Sciences
Cell & Developmental Biology
Wiley InterScience Backfile Collection 1832-2000
The dendritic patterns of cells in the optic tectum of the tegu lizard, Tupinambis nigropunctatus, were analyzed with the Ramon-Moliner modification of the Golgi-Cox technique. Cell types were compared with those described by other authors in the tectum of other reptiles; particular comparisons of our results were made with the description of cell types in the chameleon (Ramón, 1896), as the latter is the most complete analysis in the literature. The periventricular gray layers 3 and 5 consist primarily of two cell types - piriform or pyramidal shaped cells and horizontal cells. Cells in the medial portion of the tectum, in an area coextensive with the bilateral spinal projection zone, possess dendrites that extend across the midline. The latter cells have either fusiform or pyramidal shaped somas. The central white zone, layer 6, contains fibers, large fusiform or pyramidal shaped cells, fusiform cells, and small horizontal cells. The central gray zone, layer 7, is composed predominantly of fusiform cells which have dendrites extending to the superficial optic layers, large polygonal cells, and horizontal cells. The superficial gray and white layers, layers 8-13, contain polygonal, fusiform, stellate, and horizontal elements. Layer 14 is composed solely of afferent optic tract fibers.Several differences in the occurrence and distribution of cell types between the tegu and the other reptiles studied are noted. Additionally, the laminar distribution of retinal, tectotectal, telencephalic, and spinal projections in the tegutectum can be related to the distribution of cell types, and those cells which may be postsynaptic to specific inputs can be identified. The highly differentiated laminar structure of the reptilian optic tectum, both in regard to cell type and to afferent and efferent connections, may serve as a model for studying some functional properties of lamination common to cortical structures.
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