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J Comp Neurol. 2000 Oct 16;426(2):209-28.

Organization of projections from the inferior olive to the cerebellar nuclei in the rat.

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Department of Anatomy, Erasmus University Rotterdam, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


The detailed organization of projections from the inferior olive to the cerebellar nuclei of the rat was studied by using anterograde tracing. The presence of a collateral projection to the cerebellar nuclei could be confirmed, and a detailed organization was recognized at the nuclear and subnuclear level. Olivary projections to the different parts of the medial cerebellar nucleus arise from various parts of the caudal half of the medial accessory olivary nucleus. The interstitial cell groups receive olivary afferents from the intermediate part of the medial accessory olive and from the dorsomedial cell column. A mediolateral topography was noted in the projections from the rostral half of the medial accessory olive to the posterior interposed nucleus. Olivary projections to the lateral cerebellar nucleus are derived from the principal olive according to basically inversed rostrocaudal topography. Projections from the dorsomedial group of the principal olive to the dorsolateral hump were found to follow a basically rostrocaudal topography. The anterior interposed nucleus receives olivary afferents from the dorsal accessory olive. Its rostromedial parts are directed to the lateral part of the anterior interposed nucleus and its caudolateral part reach the medial anterior interposed nucleus. No terminal arborizations in the cerebellar nuclei were found to originate from (1) the dorsal fold of the dorsal accessory olive, which resulted in projections to the lateral vestibular nucleus and (2) the dorsal cap of Kooy. It was noted that the olivary projection to the cerebellar nuclei is strictly reciprocal to the nucleo-olivary projection as described by Ruigrok and Voogd (1990). Moreover, it is suggested that the olivonuclear projection adheres to the organization of the climbing fiber projection to the cerebellar cortex and to the corticonuclear projection, thus, establishing and extending the detailed micromodular organization of the connections between inferior olive and cerebellum.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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