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The Journal Of Neuroscience : The Official Journal Of The Society For Neuroscience
Suzuki, L;Coulon, P;Sabel-Goedknegt, EH;Ruigrok, TJ;
The cerebrocerebellar connection makes use of two of the largest fiber tracts in the mammalian brain, i.e., the cerebral and medial cerebellar peduncles. Neuroanatomical approaches aimed to elucidate the organization of this important connection have been hindered by its multisynaptic nature, the complex organization of its components, and the dependency of conventional tracers on precisely placed injections. To overcome these problems, we used rabies virus (RV) as a retrograde transneuronal tracer. RV was injected simultaneously with cholera toxin subunit (CTb) into selected areas of the cerebellar cortex of 18 male Wistar rats. A survival time of 48-50 h resulted in first- and second-order labeling of RV in combination with first-order labeling of CTb. The distribution of CTb-labeled neurons in the inferior olive established the zonal identity of the injection site. In this way, it was possible to examine the cortical distribution of neurons from which disynaptic cerebrocerebellar projections to specific cerebellar loci originate. The results show that this distribution covaries with the identity of the injected cerebellar lobule. More subtle changes were present when different zones of the same lobule were injected. The C1 zone of lobule VIII receives a more prominent projection from the somatosensory cortex compared with the C2/D zones. The laterally positioned D zones receive information from more rostral regions of the cerebral cortex. The vermis of lobule VII receives a prominent input from the retrosplenial and orbitofrontal cortices. Different injection sites also result in differences in laterality of the connections.