Structural basis of cerebellar microcircuits in the rat

Nadia L Cerminara, Hanako Aoki, Michaela Loft, Izumi Sugihara, Richard Apps

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

39 Citations (Scopus)
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The topography of the cerebellar cortex is described by at least three different maps, with the basic units of each map termed “microzones,” “patches,” and “bands.” These are defined, respectively, by different patterns of climbing fiber input, mossy fiber input, and Purkinje cell (PC) phenotype. Based on embryological development, the “one-map” hypothesis proposes that the basic units of each map align in the adult animal and the aim of the present study was to test this possibility. In barbiturate anesthetized adult rats, nanoinjections of bidirectional tracer (Retrobeads and biotinylated dextran amine) were made into somatotopically identified regions within the hindlimb C1 zone in copula pyramidis. Injection sites were mapped relative to PC bands defined by the molecular marker zebrin II and were correlated with the pattern of retrograde cell labeling within the inferior olive and in the basilar pontine nuclei to determine connectivity of microzones and patches, respectively, and also with the distributions of biotinylated dextran amine-labeled PC terminals in the cerebellar nuclei. Zebrin bands were found to be related to both climbing fiber and mossy fiber inputs and also to cortical representation of different parts of the ipsilateral hindpaw, indicating a precise spatial organization within cerebellar microcircuitry. This precise connectivity extends to PC terminal fields in the cerebellar nuclei and olivonuclear projections. These findings strongly support the one-map hypothesis and suggest that, at the microcircuit level of resolution, the cerebellar cortex has a common plan of spatial organization for major inputs, outputs, and PC phenotype.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to) 16427-16442
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Neuroscience
Issue number42
Publication statusPublished - 16 Oct 2013


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