The afferent projections of nucleus centrum medianum (CM) of the thalamus were studied, in the cat, by means of retrograde transport of electrophoretically ejected horseradish peroxidase. Several variations of method - survival time, fixatives, substrates, etc. - were tried to improve the amount of visible reaction product. Labeled neurons were localized primarily in two categories of nuclei in the brain. The first consisted of structures making up or closely related to the basal ganglia: the entopeduncular nucleus, the pars reticulata of the substantia nigra, and motor cortex. The second category was made up of nuclei closely related to postural and orienting functions: the deep layers of the superior colliculus ipsilaterally, and the medial and lateral vestibular nuclei bilaterally. Other nuclei containing retrogradely labeled neurons were the periaqueductal gray and locus coeruleus. Brain stem reticular projections were sparse and widely scattered. These results identify CM as an important element in the loop system linking medial thalamus and neostriatum; the probable attention and orientation related functions of this system are discussed. © 1980.
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