The organization of pontocerebellar projections to the paravermis and hemisphere of the posterior cerebellum of the rat was studied in relation to the organization of climbing fibers. Small injections of cholera toxin subunit B were placed in the cerebellar cortex at locations predetermined by evoked climbing fiber potentials from selected body parts or based on coordinates. The injection site was characterized with respect to the zebrin pattern and by the distribution of retrogradely labeled neurons in the inferior olive. The following zones were studied: hindlimb-related zones C1 and C2 of lobule VIII; forelimb-related zones C1, C2, and D0/D1 of the paramedian lobule; and face-related zones A2 of the paramedian lobule and C2 and D0 of crus 2B. The results show that the distribution of pontine neurons is closely related to the climbing fiber somatotopy. Injections centered on face-related zones result in distribution of pontine neurons within the pontine core region. Forelimb regions surround this core, whereas hindlimb regions are mostly supplied by caudal pontine regions and by a single patch of more rostrally located neurons. This distribution fits well with published data on the somatotopy of the corticopontine projection from the rat primary somatosensory cortex. However, apart from differences in the participation of ipsilaterally projecting cells, the distribution of pontine neurons does not change significantly when the injection covers different zones of the same lobule such as C1 and C2 of lobule VIII; C1, C2, and D0/D1 of the paramedian lobule; A2 of the paramedian lobule; and C2 and DO of crus 2B.

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The Journal of Comparative Neurology
Department of Neuroscience

Pijpers, W.C.T.M, & Ruigrok, T.J.H. (2006). Organization of pontocerebellar projections to identified climbing fiber zones in the rat. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 496(4), 513–528. doi:10.1002/cne.20940