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Parallel organization of the avian sensorimotor arcopallium: Tectofugal visual Pathway in the pigeon (Columba livia)

Fernndez, M;Morales, C;Durn, E;Fernandez-Colleman, S;Sentis, E;Mpodozis, J;Karten, HJ;Marn, GJ;

The sensory-motor division of the avian arcopallium receives parallel inputs from primary and high order pallial areas of sensory and vocal control pathways, and sends a prominent descending projection to ascending and premotor, subpallial stages of these pathways. While this organization is well established for the auditory and trigeminal systems, the arcopallial subdivision related to the tectofugal visual system and its descending projection to the optic tectum (TeO) has been less investigated. In this study, we charted the arcopallial area displaying tectofugal visual responses and by injecting neural tracers, we traced its connectional anatomy. We found visual motion sensitive responses in a central region of the dorsal (AD) and intermediate (AI) arcopallium, in between previously described auditory and trigeminal zones. Blocking the ascending tectofugal sensory output, canceled these visual responses in the arcopallium, verifying their tectofugal origin. Injecting PHA-L into the visual, but not into the auditory AI, revealed a massive projection to tectal layer 13 and other tectal related areas, sparing auditory and trigeminal ones. Conversely, CTB injections restricted to TeO retrogradely labeled neurons confined to the visual AI. These results show that the AI zone receiving tectofugal inputs sends top-down modulations specifically directed to tectal targets, just like the auditory and trigeminal AI zones project back to their respective subpallial sensory and premotor areas, as found by previous studies. Therefore, the arcopallium seems to be organized in a parallel fashion, such that in spite of expected cross-modal integration, the different sensory-motor loops run through separate subdivisions of this structure. This article is protected by copyright. All rights reserved. 2019 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.