Neuronal responses of 114 cells to electrical stimulation of the optic tectum were extracellularly recorded from the contralateral nucleus rotundus (nRt) in pigeons (Columba livia), and the effects of two glutamatergic antagonists CNQX and CPP, as well as those of GABA, were examined on rotundal cells. The results show that tectal stimulation evokes excitation in neurons of the contralateral nRt and that the excitatory responses are blocked by microiontophoretically applied CNQX, CPP and GABA. It is suggested that the contralateral tectorotundal transmission is excitatory in nature and mediated by both glutamatergic AMPA and NMDA receptors and that GABA is an inhibitory transmitter within the nucleus as well. We also review our previous findings in discussing transmitters participating in the tectofugal pathway.

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