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Nat Neurosci. 2010 Oct;13(10):1233-9. doi: 10.1038/nn.2637. Epub 2010 Sep 12.

Clarke's column neurons as the focus of a corticospinal corollary circuit.

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Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Kavli Institute for Brain Science, Departments of Neuroscience and Biochemistry and Molecular Biophysics, Columbia University, New York, New York, USA.


Proprioceptive sensory signals inform the CNS of the consequences of motor acts, but effective motor planning involves internal neural systems capable of anticipating actual sensory feedback. Just where and how predictive systems exert their influence remains poorly understood. We explored the possibility that spinocerebellar neurons that convey proprioceptive sensory information also integrate information from cortical command systems. Analysis of the circuitry and physiology of identified dorsal spinocerebellar tract neurons in mouse spinal cord revealed distinct populations of Clarke's column neurons that received direct excitatory and/or indirect inhibitory inputs from descending corticospinal axons. The convergence of these descending inhibitory and excitatory inputs to Clarke's column neurons established local spinal circuits with the capacity to mark or modulate incoming proprioceptive input. Together, our genetic, anatomical and physiological results indicate that Clarke's column spinocerebellar neurons nucleate local spinal corollary circuits that are relevant to motor planning and evaluation.

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