This study provides a detailed anatomical description of the relation between olivo-cortico-nuclear modules of the intermediate cerebellum of the rat and the intrinsic zebrin pattern of the Purkinje cells. Strips of climbing fibers were labeled using small injections of biotinylated dextran amine into either the medial or dorsal accessory olives, while, in some cases, simultaneous retrograde labeling of Purkinje cells was obtained using gold-lectin injections into selected parts of the interposed nuclei. Our data are represented in a new, highly detailed, cortical surface reconstruction of the zebrin pattern and in relation to the collateral labeling of the climbing fibers to the cerebellar nuclei. We show that the somatotopic regions of the dorsal accessory olive behave differently in their projections to essentially zebrin-negative regions that represent the C1 and C3 zones of the anterior and posterior parts of the cortex. The rostral part of the medial accessory olive projects to zebrin-positive areas, in particular to the P4+ band of the anterior lobe and lobule VI and to the P5+ band of the posterior lobe, indicating that C2 has two noncontiguous representations in the SL and crus 1. By relating the areas of overlap that resulted from the injections in the accessory olives, i.e., labeling of climbing fiber strips and patches of climbing fiber nuclear collaterals, with the results from the injections in the interposed nuclei, i.e., retrograde labeling of Purkinje cells and of inferior olivary neurons, direct verification of the concept of modular cerebellar connections was obtained.

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The Journal of Comparative Neurology
Department of Neuroscience

Pijpers, A., Voogd, J., & Ruigrok, T. (2005). Topography of olivo-cortico-nuclear modules in the intermediate cerebellum of the rat. The Journal of Comparative Neurology, 492(2), 193–213. doi:10.1002/cne.20707