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Exp Brain Res. 1987;68(2):260-76.

An analysis of potentially converging inputs to the rostral ventral thalamic nuclei of the cat.

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Department of Rehabilitation Medicine, University of Washington, Seattle 98195.


Potentially convergent inputs to cerebellar-receiving and basal ganglia-receiving areas of the thalamus were identified using horseradish peroxidase (HRP) retrograde tracing techniques. HRP was deposited iontophoretically into the ventroanterior (VA), ventromedial (VM), and ventrolateral (VL) thalamic nuclei in the cat. The relative numbers of labeled neurons in the basal ganglia and the cerebellar nuclei were used to assess the extent to which the injection was in cerebellar-receiving or basal ganglia-receiving portions of thalamus. The rostral pole of VA showed reciprocal connections with prefrontal portions of the cerebral cortex. Only the basal ganglia and the hypothalamus provided non-thalamic input to modulate these cortico-thalamo-cortical loops. In VM, there were reciprocal connections with prefrontal, premotor, and insular areas of the cerebral cortex. The basal ganglia (especially the substantia nigra), and to a lesser extent, the posterior and ventral portions of the deep cerebellar nuclei, provided input to VM and may modulate these cortico-thalamo-cortical loops. The premotor cortical areas connected to VM include those associated with eye movements, and afferents from the superior colliculus, a region of documented importance in oculomotor control, also were labeled by injections into VM. The dorsolateral portion of the VA-VL complex primarily showed reciprocal connections with the medial premotor (area 6) cortex. Basal ganglia and cerebellar afferents both may modulate this cortico-thalamo-cortical loop, although they do not necessarily converge on the same thalamic neurons. The cerebellar input to dorsolateral VA-VL was from posterior and ventral portions of the cerebellar nuclei, and the major potential brainstem afferents to this region of thalamus were from the pretectum. Mid- and caudo-lateral portions of VL had reciprocal connections with primary motor cortex (area 4). The dorsal and anterior portions of the cerebellar nuclei had a dominant input to this cortico-thalamo-cortical loop. Potentially converging brainstem afferents to this portion of VL were from the pretectum, especially pretectal areas to which somatosensory afferents project.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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