Complex somatosensory receptive fields of cells in the deep laminae of the hamster's superior colliculus

R. W. Rhoades, R. D. Mooney, M. F. Jacquin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

35 Scopus citations


Responses to separate and simultaneous application of noxious and innocuous tactile stimuli were examined for neurons recorded from the deep layers of the hamster's superior colliculus. Forty-four percent of the units isolated were responsive only to innocuous, primarily cutaneous, stimuli; 10% were activated only by noxious stimulation; and 15% were characterized as having a wide dynamic range. The remaining 31% of the somatosensory cells recorded had complex receptive field properties which have not heretofore been described for tectal neurons in any species. Ten percent of all somatosensory cells had no excitatory receptive fields, but their spontaneous discharges could be suppressed by low threshold and/or noxious stimulation of discrete portions of the body. In 18% of the units which we recorded, innocuous and noxious stimuli had opposing effects upon cellular activity. Most of these neurons had small receptive fields in which innocuous tactile stimuli yielded excitation and larger fields, often including most of the body surface, where noxious stimulation suppressed both spontaneous activity and the responses normally elicited by appropriate tactile stimulation. Finally, a very small number of units (3% of all somatosensory cells recorded) had multiple receptive fields in which low threshold stimulation produced opposing effects on spontaneous activity. Somatosensory units were recorded in all of the deep laminae, but cells with complex response characteristics were isolated primarily in stratum griseum profundum.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1342-1354
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 1983
Externally publishedYes

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