Springer Nature is making SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research free. View research | View latest news | Sign up for updates

Role of the extra-geniculate pathway in visual guidance

II. Effects of lesioning the pulvinar-lateral posterior thalamic complex in the cat

  • 143 Accesses

  • 11 Citations


Eight cats were trained to perform a paw movement towards a moving target. The target was a lever which moved at a variable speed across an aperture situated in front of the animal, from left to right or right to left at random, but only once per trial. The animals were trained until performances stabilized in terms of precision (correct movements versus misguided ones) and speed (response time distribution of correctly guided movements). Then they underwent bilateral electrolytic lesions restricted to the pulvinar nucleus (4 cats) or to the lateral posterior nucleus (4 cats). Pre- and post-operative performances were compared. The results showed a clear difference between the two nuclei; postoperative performances after pulvinar lesion were in the preoperative range, both for precision and response time, thus allowing this group to be considered as a control lesion group. On the other hand, a marked impairment in visual guidance followed lateral posterior lesions. This deficit affected both the precision and the speed of the response, with all cats showing a tendency to increase the response time of their efficient movements. This impairment disappeared progressively except for one animal, whose lesion was especially large. We suggest that the nucleus lateral posterior is involved in the control of visually guided movements; and its role as a component of the tecto-thalamo-cortical pathway is discussed.

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Acuña C, Gonzalez E, Dominguez R (1982) Pulvinar unit activity related with intentional behavior in behaving monkeys. Neurosci Lett Suppl. 10: S34

  2. Acuña C, Gonzalez E, Dominguez R (1983) Sensorimotor unit activity related to intention in the pulvinar of behaving Cebus Apella monkeys. Exp Brain Res 52: 411–422

  3. Altman J, Carpenter MB (1961) Fiber projections of superior colliculus in the cat. J Comp Neurol 116: 157–177

  4. Benedek G, Norita M, Creutzfeldt O (1983) Electrophysiological and anatomical demonstration of an overlapping striate and tectal projections to the lateral posterior-pulvinar complex of the cat. Exp Brain Res 52: 157–169

  5. Benevento LA, Miller J (1981) Visual responses of single neurons in the caudal lateral pulvinar of the macaque monkey. J Neurosci 11: 1268–1278

  6. Berman N (1977) Connections of the pretectum in the cat. J Comp Neurol 174: 227–254

  7. Berman N, Jones EG, (1977) A retino-pulvinar projection in the cat. Brain Res 134: 237–248

  8. Berson DM, Graybiel AM (1978) Parallel thalamic zones in the LP-pulvinar complex of the cat identified by their afferent and efferent connections. Brain Res 147: 139–148

  9. Buisseret P, Gary-Bobo E, Milleret C (1983) Responses in cat pulvinar-lateralis posterior nuclei to stimulation of proprioceptive afferents from extraocular muscles. J Physiol (Lond) 345: 160

  10. Chalupa LM (1977) A review of cat and monkey studies implicating the pulvinar in visual function. Behav Biol 20: 149–167

  11. Chalupa LM, Coyle RS, Lindsley DB (1976) Effects of pulvinar lesions on visual discrimination in monkeys. J Neurophysiol 39: 354–369

  12. Chalupa LM, Williams RW, Hughes MJ (1983) Visual response properties in the tectorecipient zone of the cat's lateral posterior-pulvinar complex: a comparison with the superior colliculus. J Neurosci 3: 2587–2596

  13. Chow KL (1954) Lack of behavioral effects following destruction of some thalamic association nuclei in monkey. Am Med Assoc Arch Neurol Psychiat (Chicago) 71: 762–771

  14. Crighel E (1978) The role of the pulvinar-lateralis posterior complex of the thalamus in the organization of motor patterns. In: Lissak K (ed) Neural and neurohormonal organization of motivated behavior. Akad Kiado Budapest, pp 65–82

  15. Crommelinck M, Roucoux A, Meulders M (1977) Eye movements evoked by stimulation of lateral posterior nucleus and pulvinar in the cat. Brain Res 124: 361–366

  16. Fabre M, Buser P (1981) Effects of suprasylvian lesions on visually guided performances in cats. Exp Brain Res 41: 81–88

  17. Fabre M, André C, Buser P (1979) Testing visually guided forepaw movements in the cat: training apparatus and procedure. Physiol Behav 23: 263–266

  18. Fish SE, Chalupa LM (1979) Functional properties of pulvinar lateral posterior neurons which receive input from the superior colliculus. Exp Brain Res 36: 245–258

  19. Graybiel AM (1972) Some ascending connections of the pulvinar and nucleus lateralis posterior of the thalamus in the cat. Brain Res 44: 99–125

  20. Graybiel AM, Berson DM (1980) Histochemical identification and afferent connections of subdivisions in the LP-pulvinar complex and related thalamic nuclei in the cat. Neuroscience 5: 1175–1239

  21. Hassler R, Mush-Clement K (1964) Architektonischer Aufbau des sensomotorischen und parietalen Cortex der Katze. J Hirnforsch 6: 377–420

  22. Heath CJ, Jones EG (1971) The anatomical organization of the suprasylvian gyms of the cat. Erg Anat Entwickl-Gesch 45: 5–64

  23. Hyvärinen J (1982) Posterior parietal lobe of the primate brain. Physiol Rev 62: 1060–1129

  24. Infante C, Leiva J (1984) Correlation between pulvinar-lateralis posterior complex unit activity and eye movements in the cat. Exp Neurol 85: 453–460

  25. Itoh K (1977) Efferent projections of the pretectum in the cat. Exp Brain Res 30: 89–105

  26. Itoh K, Mizuno N, Kudo M (1983) Direct retinal projections to the lateroposterior and pulvinar nuclear complex (LP-Pul) in the cat, as revealed by the anterograde HRP method. Brain Res 276: 325–328

  27. Jasper H, Ajmone-Marsan C (1956) A stereotaxic atlas of the diencephalon of the cat. Nat Res Coun (Canada)

  28. Kaufman EPS, Rosenquist AC, Raczkowski D (1984) The projections of single thalamic neurons onto multiple visual cortical areas in the cat. Brain Res 298: 171–174

  29. Kawamura S, Sprague JM, Niimi K (1974) Corticofugal projections from the visual cortices to the thalamus, pretectum and superior colliculus in the cat. J Comp Neurol 158: 339–362

  30. Legg CR, Cowey A (1977) Effects of subcortical lesions on visual intensity discriminations in rats. Physiol Behav 19: 635–646

  31. Leventhal AG, Keens J, Törk I (1980) The afferent ganglion cells and cortical projections of the retinal recipient zone (RRZ) of the cat's pulvinar complex. J Comp Neurol 194: 535–554

  32. Lynch JC, Mountcastle VB, Talbot WH, Yin TCT (1977) Parietal lobe mechanisms for directed visual attention. J Neurophysiol 40: 362–389

  33. Margarinos Ascone C, Martin Rodriguez JG, Buño W Jr, Garcia-Austt E (1982) Pulvinar control of movement and sensory activity. Neurosci Lett Suppl 10: S304

  34. Mason R (1978) Functional organization in the cat's pulvinar complex. Exp Brain Res 31: 51–67

  35. Motles E, Ely Y, Elazar Z (1980) Role of the pulvinar-LP nucleus complex in turning behavior. Physiol Behav 25: 921–929

  36. Motles E, Gonzales M, Infante CC (1983) Rotational behavior in the cat induced by electrical stimulation of the pulvinarlateralis posterior nucleus complex: role of the cholinergic system. Exp Neurol 82: 43–54

  37. Mountcastle VB, Lynch JC, Georgopoulos A, Sakata H, Acuña C (1975) Posterior parietal association cortex of the monkey command functions for operations within the extrapersonal space. J Neurophysiol 38: 875–908

  38. Nagel-Leiby S, Bender DB, Butter CM (1984) Effects of kainic acid and radio-frequency lesions of the pulvinar on visual discrimination in the monkey. Brain Res 300: 295–303

  39. Niimi K, Kawamura S, Ishimaru S (1971) Projections of the visual cortex to the lateral geniculate and posterior thalamic nuclei in the cat. J Comp Neurol 143: 279–312

  40. Niimi K, Kuwahara E (1973) The dorsal thalamus of the cat and comparison with monkey and man. J Hirnforsch 11: 303–325

  41. Palmer LA, Rosenquist AC, Tusa RJ (1978) The retinotopic organization of lateral suprasylvian in the cat. J Comp Neurol 177: 237–256

  42. Perryman KM, Lindsley DF, Lindsley DB (1980) Pulvinar neuron responses to spontaneous and trained eye movements and to light flashes in squirrel monkeys. Electroenceph Clin Neurophysiol 49: 152–161

  43. Raczkowski D, Rosenquist AD (1983) Connections of the multiple visual cortical areas with the lateral posterior-pulvinar complex and adjacent nuclei in the cat. J Neurosci 3: 1912–1942

  44. Rioch DM (1929) Studies on the diencephalon of carnivora. I. The nuclear configuration of the thalamus, epithalamus and hypothalamus of the dog and cat. J Comp Neurol 49: 1–119

  45. Robertson RT, Cunningham TJ (1981) Organization of corticothalamic projections from parietal cortex in cat. J Comp Neurol 199: 569–585

  46. Robinson DL, Keys W (1981) Visuomotor properties of neurons in the superior colliculus and pulvinar nucleus of the monkey. In: Szentágothai J, Hamori J, Plakoviti (eds) Regulatory functions of the CNS subsystems. Pergamon Press, Oxford New York, pp 279–285

  47. Sprague JM, Levitt M, Robson K, Liu CN, Stellar E, Chambers WW (1963) A neuronatomical and behavioral analysis of the syndromes resulting from midbrain lemniscal and reticular lesions in the cat. Arch Ital Biol 101: 225–295

  48. Spreafico R, Kirk C, Franceschetti S, Avanzini G (1980) Brainstem projections to the pulvinar-lateralis posterior complex of the cat. Exp Brain Res 40: 209–221

  49. Ungerleider LG, Christensen CA (1977) Pulvinar lesions in monkeys produce abnormal eye movements during visual discrimination training. Brain Res 136: 189–196

  50. Ungerleider LG, Ganz L, Pribam KH (1977) Size constancy in rhesus monkeys: effects of pulvinar, prestriate and inferotemporal lesions. Exp Brain Res 27: 251–269

  51. Updyke BV (1977) Topographic organization of the projections from cortical areas 17, 18 and 19 onto the thalamus, pretectum and superior colliculus in the cat. J Comp Neurol 173: 81–121

  52. Updyke BV (1981) Projections from visual areas of the middle suprasylvian sulcus onto the lateral posterior complex and adjacent thalamic nuclei in the cat. J Comp Neurol 201: 477–506

  53. Vievard A, Fabre-Thorpe M, Buser P (1986) Role of the extrageniculate pathway in visual guidance. I. Effects of lesioning the superior colliculus in cats. Exp Brain Res 62: 587–595

  54. Wei JY, Marczynski TJ (1979) Pulvinar and lateral geniculate neuronal activity in the cat during operantly conditioned appetitive behaviour. Brain Res 166: 9–25

Download references

Author information

Correspondence to M. Fabre-Thorpe.

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Cite this article

Fabre-Thorpe, M., Viévard, A. & Buser, P. Role of the extra-geniculate pathway in visual guidance. Exp Brain Res 62, 596–606 (1986).

Download citation

Key words

  • Visual guidance
  • Thalamus
  • Pulvinar-lateral-posterior nucleus
  • Lesions
  • Cats