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J Comp Neurol. 1996 Apr 29;368(2):215-28.

Comparison of cerebellothalamic and pallidothalamic projections in the monkey (Macaca fuscata): a double anterograde labeling study.

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Department of Anatomy, Colleges of Medicine, Michigan State University, East Lansing 48824, USA.


To address the question of segregated projections from the internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi) and the cerebellar nuclei (Cb) to the thalamus in the monkey, we employed a double anterograde labeling strategy combining the anterograde transport of horseradish peroxidase conjugated to wheat germ agglutinin (WGA-HRP) with biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) transport. The tissue was processed sequentially for WGA-HRP, and then BDA immunohistochemistry using two different chromogens. Since the two labels were easily distinguishable on the same histological section, the interrelationship between the cerebellar and pallidal projection systems could be directly evaluated. We found that both the cerebellothalamic and pallidothalamic label consisted of dense plexuses of labeled fibers and swellings in a patch-like configuration. The patches or foci of labeling were distributed either as dense single label or as interdigitating patches of double label. We found dense single label in the central portion of the ventral anterior nucleus pars principalis (VApc) and the ventral lateral nucleus pars oralis (VLo) following the GPi injections or in the central portion of the ventral posterior lateral nucleus pars oralis (VPLo) and nucleus X (X) following the cerebellar nuclei injections. Complementary interdigitating patches of WGA-HRP and BDA labeling were found primarily in transitional border regions between thalamic nuclei. On occasion, we found overlap of both labels. We observed a gradient pattern in the density of the pallidothalamic and cerebellothalamic projections. The pallidothalamic territory included VApc, VLo, and the ventral lateral nucleus pars caudalis (VLc), with the density of these projections decreasing along an anterior to posterior gradient in the thalamus. Occasional patches of pallidal label were found in VPLo and nucleus X. Conversely, the density of cerebellothalamic projections increased along the same gradient, with the cerebellothalamic territory extending anteriorly beyond the cell-sparse zones of VPLo, X, and VLc to include VLo and VApc also. These data suggest that although the cerebellar and pallidal projections primarily occupy separate thalamic territories, individual thalamic nuclei receive differentially weighted inputs from these sources.

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