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Neurosci Lett. 1992 Sep 14;144(1-2):202-6.

Patterns of termination of cerebellar and basal ganglia efferents in the rat thalamus. Strictly segregated and partly overlapping projections.

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Department of Anatomy and Neurobiology, College of Medicine, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38163.


There is a widely held view that the cerebellum and basal ganglia act via separate subcortical channels. In rodent, however, electrophysiological evidence suggests that the output of these two systems is partly sent to a common set of thalamic neurons. In this study, the pattern of thalamic innervations provided by the deep cerebellar nuclei, the entopeduncular nucleus, and the substantia nigra pars reticulata was reinvestigated in the rat using the anterograde tracers Phaseolus vulgaris leucoagglutinin and wheat germ agglutinin. Although the results confirm the existence of some overlap in the cerebellar and basal ganglia projection fields, they also show that in such convergent areas the cerebellar innervation is modest and consists of sparsely distributed fibers of thin diameter that provide a few scattered terminal boutons. These observations are consistent with the view that, in rodent as in higher mammalian species, the cerebellum and the basal ganglia act mainly via distinct thalamo-cortical channels.

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