Visual Integration in Bulbar Structures of Toads: Intra/Extra-Cellular Recording and Labeling Studies

  • Wolfgang W. Schwippert
  • Thomas W. Beneke
  • Edda M. Framing


The concept of coding by “command releasing systems” raises the question of how visual information is decoded in post-tectal structures of the medulla oblongata. In the present study, extra- and intracellular activities of neurons in the bulbar reticular formation (RetF) and in nuclei of the branchiomotor column (BMC) were analyzed in response to visual stimulation as well as to electrical stimulation of the optic tectum, the brain stem, or the spinal cord in slightly paralyzed toads. Similarities between tectal and bulbar visual neurons, based on receptive field sizes and responses to moving configurai stimuli, suggest various kinds of integrating properties in the RetF and BMC. Besides configurai selectivities, particular characteristics of bulbar neurons were tonic activity, or warming-up and burst activity in response to specific input. Transformation of a visual input into a standard pre-motor activity was shown by cells that displayed cyclic bursts as a post-stimulus event. Camera-lucida reconstructions of intracellularly labeled neurons revealed five morphological types distinguished by size, orientation, and extension of dendrites. Most labeled cells in the RetF and BMC showed dendritic trees with bewildering arborizations suitable to pick up inputs from different sites of the grey and white matter. Results obtained in amphibians and in mammals are discussed.


Medulla Oblongata Intracellular Recording Dendritic Tree Optic Tectum Common Toad 
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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • Wolfgang W. Schwippert
    • 1
  • Thomas W. Beneke
    • 1
  • Edda M. Framing
    • 1
  1. 1.Abteilung Neuroethologie, Fachbereich Biologie/ChemieUniversität KasselKasselFR Germany

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