Projection patterns of single mossy fiber axons originating from the dorsal column nuclei mapped on the aldolase C compartments in the rat cerebellar cortex

Pham Nguyen Quy, Hirofumi Fujita, Yukiyo Sakamoto, Jie Na, Izumi Sugihara

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Scopus citations

Abstract

Although cerebellar mossy fibers are the most abundant cerebellar afferents and are deeply involved in cerebellar function, the organization of their projection has remained obscure, particularly in relation to cerebellar compartmentalization. The dorsal column nuclei (DCN) are a major source of cerebellar mossy fibers and possess distinct somatotopic representations of specific somatosensory submodalities. We reconstructed individual dextran-labeled DCN axons completely from serial sections and mapped their terminals on the longitudinal cerebellar compartments that were visualized by aldolase C immunostaining to clarify their projection pattern. Individual axons branched and formed about 100 rosette terminals in the cerebellar cortex, but infrequently projected to the cerebellar nuclei (1 out of 15 axons). Cortical terminals were clustered in multiple areas in the vermis and pars intermedia mostly, but not exclusively, ipsilateral to the origin of the axon. The gracile, cuneate, and external cuneate nuclei (ECuN) mainly projected to the copula pyramidis and lobule V, paramedian and simple lobules, and lobules I-V and VIII-IX, respectively, although there was some overlap. The majority of terminals were located within aldolase C negative or lightly positive compartments. However, terminals of a single axon can be located on aldolase C-negative as well as on aldolase C-positive compartments. In particular, the rostral ECuN, which is responsive to shoulder movements, projected consistently to lobule IX, which were mostly aldolase C-positive. In sum, DCN-cerebellar axons project to multiple compartments with terminals clustered mainly in the conventional spinocerebellar region with a coarse topography, which shows some relationship to the cortical compartments defined by aldolase C.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)874-899
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Volume519
Issue number5
DOIs
StatePublished - Apr 1 2011
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Biotinylated dextran
  • Cuneate
  • External cuneate
  • Gracilis
  • Somatosensory
  • Zebrin

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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