A functional analysis of the collicular output pathways: a dissociation of deficits following lesions of the dorsal tegmental decussation and the ipsilateral collicular efferent bundle in the Mongolian gerbil
Mongolian gerbils received either lesions of the superior colliculus, small lesions of the uncrossed efferents of the superior colliculus, knifecuts of the dorsal tegmental decussation, or sham operations. The animals were subsequently tested for avoidance of overhead visual threat, orientation and locomotion toward small targets, and negotiation of a large barrier in order to reach a small target. Animals with collicular lesions showed no responses to overhead threat and had severe deficits in orienting to small targets. Animals with lesions of the uncrossed tectal efferents showed diminished responses to overhead threat but had no deficits in orienting to targets. Animals with lesions of the dorsal tegmental decussation showed only slight reductions in responses to overhead threats but clear impairments in the orientation tasks. The impairments in orientation, however, were less severe than those seen in collicular animals. Animals in all groups were able to negotiate barriers efficiently. These results suggest that separate output pathways of the superior colliculus mediate different types of visuomotor behaviours. The results further suggest that visual orientation to small targets does not depend completely on output through the predorsal bundle, but must also involve other collicular outputs.