Retinal ganglion cells projecting to superior colliculus and pulvinar in marmoset

Ulrike Grünert, Sammy C.S. Lee, William C. Kwan, Inaki Carril Mundinano, James A. Bourne, Paul R. Martin

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15 Citations (Scopus)


We determined the retinal ganglion cell types projecting to the medial subdivision of inferior pulvinar (PIm) and the superior colliculus (SC) in the common marmoset monkey, Callithrix jacchus. Adult marmosets received a bidirectional tracer cocktail into the PIm (conjugated to Alexa fluor 488), and the SC (conjugated to Alexa fluor 594) using an MRI-guided approach. One SC injection included the pretectum. The large majority of retrogradely labelled cells were obtained from SC injections, with only a small proportion obtained after PIm injections. Retrogradely labelled cells were injected intracellularly in vitro using lipophilic dyes (DiI, DiO). The SC and PIm both received input from a variety of ganglion cell types. Input to the PIm was dominated by broad thorny (41%), narrow thorny (24%) and large bistratified (25%) ganglion cells. Input to the SC was dominated by parasol (37%), broad thorny (24%) and narrow thorny (17%) cells. Midget ganglion cells (which make up the large majority of primate retinal ganglion cells) and small bistratified (blue-ON/yellow OFF) cells were never observed to project to SC or PIm. Small numbers of other wide-field ganglion cell types were also encountered. Giant sparse (presumed melanopsin-expressing) cells were only seen following the tracer injection which included the pretectum. We note that despite the location of pulvinar complex in dorsal thalamus, and its increased size and functional importance in primate evolution, the retinal projections to pulvinar have more in common with SC projections than they do with projections to the dorsal lateral geniculate nucleus.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2745–2762
Number of pages18
JournalBrain Structure and Function
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021


  • Lateral geniculate nucleus
  • Pretectum
  • Primate retina
  • Pulvinar
  • Retinal ganglion cell projections
  • Superior colliculus

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