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Neuroscience. 1985 Jun;15(2):389-401.

Topographic organization of the cerebellothalamic projections in the rat. An autoradiographic study.


The topographical organization of the subnuclear projections towards the thalamus was studied with autographic methods in adult Wistar rats. The four cerebellar deep nuclei give rise to projections to the ventral region of the rostral thalamus. Most of the fibers end contralaterally, according to a topographical pattern; however, some fibers from each of the cerebellar nuclei recross the midline at the thalamic level and terminate ipsilaterally, within regions symmetric to those receiving the densest contralateral projection. These ipsilateral cerebellothalamic components arise in decreasing order from the caudal nucleus lateralis, the ventrocaudal nucleus medialis and the nucleus interpositus, respectively. The projections of the nucleus lateralis directed to the contralateral thalamus are topographically organized. (1) Within the nucleus ventralis lateralis, the rostral and caudal parts of the cerebellar nucleus lateralis project respectively to rostral and caudal regions; lateral and medial zones of the nucleus lateralis project, respectively, to medial and central aspects of the nucleus ventralis lateralis. (2) The nucleus ventralis medialis and particularly its caudal portion appears to receive the bulk of its afferents from the ventromedial portion of the nucleus lateralis including the "subnucleus lateralis parvocellularis". (3) The nucleus centralis lateralis receives fibers from most parts of the nucleus lateralis including the "dorsolateral hump". (4) The nucleus interpositus anterior projects to the dorsomedial aspect of the rostral nucleus ventralis lateralis. In the latter nucleus, the ventrolateral aspect of the central region receives projections in cases in which the nucleus interpositus posterior is largely involved. A particular emphasis is put on the different projections from the various subnuclear regions of the lateral nucleus. A comparison is attempted with the situation in the primates, particularly with regard to the question of the parvocellular subdivision of the lateral nucleus.

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