The projection of spinocerebellar neurons from the sacrococcygeal region of the spinal cord in the cat. An experimental study using anterograde transport of WGA-HRP and degeneration.

Q. Xu, G. Grant


The projection from the sacro-coccygeal region of the spinal cord to the cerebellum was studied by two different techniques in the cat. In five cats wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase conjugate (WGA-HRP) was injected caudal to a preceding unilateral cordotomy at the sacral level, aimed at interrupting the spinocerebellar tracts on one side completely, and the distribution of WGA-HRP labeled mossy fibers and mossy fiber terminals was studied in the cerebellum. In three additional cats, degenerating fibers were examined in Fink-Heimer stained sections following unilateral transection of the lateral and ventral funiculi at L7 or S3 level. In the WGA-HRP experiments the labeled mossy fiber terminals were located bilaterally in lobules I-V. Most of them were found in the anterior part of lobule II. In addition, labeled terminals were observed in sublobule VIIIB and in pars copularis of the paramedian lobule, contralateral to the cordotomy. The terminals in the anterior lobe were concentrated in longitudinal zones parallel to the mid sagittal plane. In lobule II, the terminals were most abundant in the superficial, apical parts of the folia. Some presumed terminals were also seen in the cerebellar nuclei. Labeled fibers were found contralateral, but not ipsilateral to the cordotomy in the superior and inferior cerebellar peduncles, as well as in the spinal cord rostral to the cordotomy. The results of the degeneration experiments were the same as those of the WGA-HRP experiments with regard to the detailed projections in the cerebellar cortex. This is strong support against the possibility that WGA-HRP labeled cerebellar mossy fiber terminals, following WGA-HRP injections in the spinal cord, would represent terminals of collaterals of retrogradely labeled neurons. It also lends strong support in favour of WGA-HRP as a reliable anterograde tracer for studying cerebellar cortical projections of spinocerebellar neurons in the cat.

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