Midbrain tectum

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Brain: Midbrain tectum
Latin t. mesencephali
Part of Midbrain
NeuroNames hier-448
Dorlands/Elsevier t_03/12792309

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Overview

The tectum (Latin: roof) is a region of the brain, specifically the dorsal part of the mesencephalon (midbrain).

It is derived in embryonic development from the alar plate of the neural tube. In adult humans it is present only in the mesencephalon as the inferior and the superior colliculi.

  • The superior colliculus is involved in preliminary visual processing and control of eye movements. In non-mammalian vertebrates it serves as the main visual area of the brain, functionally analogous to the visual areas of the cerebral cortex in mammals.

Both colliculi also have descending projections to the paramedian pontine reticular formation and spinal cord, and thus can be involved in responses to stimuli faster than cortical processing would allow. Collectively the colliculi are referred to as the corpora quadrigemina.

The term "tectal plate" (or "quadrigeminal plate") is used to describe the junction of the gray and white matter in the embryo. (l_02/12476795 at Dorland's Medical Dictionary, NeuroNames ancil-453)

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