Prenatal development of retinocollicular projections in the cat: an anterograde tracer transport study

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Journal of Neuroscience








The retinal projection to the superior colliculus of the cat was examined at four gestational ages, embryonic days 38, 46, 56, and 61, using the anterograde transport of horseradish peroxidase and tritiated leucine. Gestation in the cat averages 65 days. By the 38th day of gestation (E38), the anlage of the entire superior colliculus, both ipsilateral and contralateral to an injection, was labeled intensely. The peroxidase label had an extremely coarse grained texture. As late as E46, the ipsilateral retinal projection extended to the presumed caudal border of the colliculus, while by E56, as in the mature cat, the ipsilateral terminal field was largely excluded from the rostral and caudal tectal poles. The contralateral terminal field at E56, as in younger fetal material, extended across the entire tectal mantle. By E61, clear gaps of label were observed in the contralateral stratum griseum superficiale. At this age, patches or bands of label were accentuated on the ipsilateral side. In double labeled tissue, it could be demonstrated that the ipsilateral patches corresponded quite closely to the gaps in the contralaterally derived label. Thus, a few days before birth, the retinal projection to the superior colliculus has a pattern which resembles that of the adult.

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