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Keywords:

  • oculomotor;
  • chick;
  • HRP;
  • migration;
  • subnuclear organization

Abstract

The horseradish peroxidase retrograde tracer technique was used to map tne projection pattern of the oculomotor nuclear complex to the extra-ocular muscles in the chick embryo. The following projection pattern was found: The dorsolateral oculomotor subnucleus innervates the ipsilateral in-ferior rectus muscle, the dorsomedial subnucleus innervates the ipsilateral medial rectus muscle, a lateral division of the ventromedial subnucleus innervates the ipsilateral inferior oblique muscle, and a medial division of the ventromedial subnucleus innervates the contralateral superior rectus muscle. The so-called central nucleus also innervates the contralateral superior rectus muscle. This pattern was extremely discrete, with virtually no overlapping representations. These results provide the first evidence for a functional medial-lateral subdivision of the ventromedial subnucleus. This pattern relates to the unusual development of this subnucleus and suggests that only part of the primordium for this cell group migrates across the mid-line during its ontogeny, rather than all of it, as was previously believed. The subnuclear organization of the avian oculomotor complex is also considered in comparison to such functional organization in other species.