The midbrain roof is a retinorecipient region referred to as the optic tectum in lower vertebrates, and the superior colliculus in mammals. The retinal fibers projecting to the tectum transmit visual information to tectal retinorecipient neurons. Periventricular neurons are a subtype of these neurons that have their somata in the deepest layer of the teleostean tectum and apical dendrites ramifying at more superficial layers consisting of retinal fibers. The retinotectal synapses between the retinal fibers and periventricular neurons are glutamatergic, and ionotropic glutamate receptors mediate the transmission in these synapses. This transmission involves long-term potentiation, and is modulated by hormone action. Visual information processed in the periventricular neurons is transmitted to adjacent tectal cells and target nuclei of periventricular neuron axonal branches, some of which relay the visual information to other brain areas controlling behavior. We demonstrated that periventricular neurons play a principal role in visual information processing in the teleostean optic tectum; the effects of tectal output on behavior is discussed also in the present review.
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