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Interactions between the Midbrain Superior Colliculus and the Basal Ganglia.

Abstract : An important component of the architecture of cortico-basal ganglia connections is the parallel, re-entrant looped projections that originate and return to specific regions of the cerebral cortex. However, such loops are unlikely to have been the first evolutionary example of a closed-loop architecture involving the basal ganglia. A phylogenetically older, series of subcortical loops can be shown to link the basal ganglia with many brainstem sensorimotor structures. While the characteristics of individual components of potential subcortical re-entrant loops have been documented, the full extent to which they represent functionally segregated parallel projecting channels remains to be determined. However, for one midbrain structure, the superior colliculus (SC), anatomical evidence for closed-loop connectivity with the basal ganglia is robust, and can serve as an example against which the loop hypothesis can be evaluated for other subcortical structures. Examination of ascending projections from the SC to the thalamus suggests there may be multiple functionally segregated systems. The SC also provides afferent signals to the other principal input nuclei of the basal ganglia, the dopaminergic neurones in substantia nigra and to the subthalamic nucleus. Recent electrophysiological investigations show that the afferent signals originating in the SC carry important information concerning the onset of biologically significant events to each of the basal ganglia input nuclei. Such signals are widely regarded as crucial for the proposed functions of selection and reinforcement learning with which the basal ganglia have so often been associated.
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Peter Redgrave, Véronique Coizet, Eliane Comoli, John Mchaffie, Mariana Leriche, et al.. Interactions between the Midbrain Superior Colliculus and the Basal Ganglia.. Front Neuroanat, 2010, 4, ⟨10.3389/fnana.2010.00132⟩. ⟨inserm-00800202⟩

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