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Converging cerebellofugal inputs to the thalamus

II. Analysis and topography of thalamic EPSPs induced by convergent monosynaptic interpositus and dentate inputs

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Summary

A large number of projections from cerebellar nuclei converge onto individual neurones in the thalamic relay to the motor cortex. Among the thalamic cells receiving cerebellar inputs, 75 out of 153 (50%) were found to be influenced by monosynaptic inputs from at least two cerebellar nuclei and 2 (1.5%) from three nuclei (the interpositus, dentate and fastigial nuclei). The pathways of the inputs converging on the same unit were found to be monosynaptic in 67 thalamic neurons, and disynaptic in the eight others. The monosynaptic nature of the majority of the pathways was proved by analysing the synaptic delay and the spatial and temporal summation. The 67 thalamic neurons receiving direct convergent influences were found to be distributed within the central portion of the VL. Forty-four of them give off projections to all the cortical areas, although a slightly higher proportion is to be found within the motor cortex shoulder area than elsewhere (medial part of area 4). Consequently, the specific function of the neurons receiving direct, convergent cerebellar inputs is not to control one particular part of the musculature but on the contrary, to transmit reciprocal facilitatory effects between the interpositus and dentate nuclei to all the cortical motor subdivisions. Maps summarizing monosynaptic responses obtained with semi-chronic preparations were drawn at thalamic and cortical levels. Each VL neuron was found to be a point where the two cerebellar circuits converge and may interact: the cerebrocerebellar circuit, which passes through the dentate nucleus, generates a feedward motor command: this can either modify or be modified by the feedback peripheral loop, which passes through the interpositus nucleus.

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Abbreviations

Cb:

cerebellum

DN:

dentate nucleus

FN:

fastigial nucleus

IN:

interpositus nucleus

VA:

ventral anterior nucleus

VL:

ventro lateral nucleus

VM:

ventro median nucleus

VPL:

ventro postero lateral nucleus

TC:

thalamo-cortical relay cells

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Correspondence to L. Rispal-Padel.

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Rispal-Padel, L., Troiani, D. & Harnois, C. Converging cerebellofugal inputs to the thalamus. Exp Brain Res 68, 59–72 (1987). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF00255234

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Key words

  • Dentate nucleus
  • Interpositus nucleus
  • Convergent projections onto thalamo-cortical relay cells