The cerebral cortex requires cerebellar input for optimizing sensorimotor processing. However, how the sensorimotor cortex uses cerebellar information is far from understood. One critical and unanswered question is how cerebellar functional entities (zones or modules) are connected to distinct parts of the sensorimotor cortices. Here, we utilized retrograde transneuronal infection of rabies virus (RABV) to study the organization of connections from the cerebellar cortex to M1, M2, and S1 of the rat cerebral cortex. RABV was co-injected with cholera toxin β-subunit (CTb) into each of these cortical regions and a survival time of 66–70 h allowed for third-order retrograde RABV infection of Purkinje cells. CTb served to identify the injection site. RABV+ Purkinje cells throughout cerebellar zones were identified by reference to the cerebellar zebrin pattern. All injections, including those into S1, resulted in multiple, zonally arranged, strips of RABV+ Purkinje cells. M1 injections were characterized by input from Purkinje cells in the vermal X-zone, medial paravermis (C1- and Cx-zones), and lateral hemisphere (D2-zone); M2 receives input from D2- and C3-zones; connections to S1 originate from X-, Cx-, C3-, and D2- zones. We hypothesize that individual domains of the sensorimotor cortex require information from a specific combination of cerebellar modules.

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Keywords motor cortex, Purkinje cells, rabies virus (RABV), somatosensory cortex, zebrin
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Journal Cerebral Cortex
Aoki, S., Coulon, P, & Ruigrok, T.J.H. (2019). Multizonal Cerebellar Influence Over Sensorimotor Areas of the Rat Cerebral Cortex. Cerebral Cortex, 29(2), 598–614. doi:10.1093/cercor/bhx343