A well defined spinocerebellar system in the weakly electric teleost fish Gnathonemus petersii. A tracing and immuno-histochemical study.

T. Szabo, S. Libouban, J.-P. Denizot


Long ascending fiber systems were investigated in the spinal cord of a teleost fish, Gnathonemus petersii. Concomitant results of Fink-Heimer degeneration tracing as well as CaBP28K immunohistochemical labelling demonstrate the existence of a well defined direct pathway from the very lowest spinal level to the caudal lobe of the cerebellum. HRP retrograde labelling shows that this pathway originates in a cellular column located in the most ventral part of the lateral column next to the lateral extremity of the ventral horn. From each spinal segment, the large axons of these cells gather and form a strip shaped tract at the periphery of the lateral column immediately dorsal to the cell column from which they originate. The spinal course of these fibers is ipsilateral; they give off a large number of collaterals to the lateral reticular nucleus. Bypassing the trigeminal motor nucleus, the lateral column tract courses dorsally to the paratrigeminal command associated nucleus between the lateral lemniscus and the nucleus preeminentialis and with a ventro-dorsally oriented large loop, turns in the caudal direction and penetrates into the cerebellar caudal lobe. Running caudally in the dorsal granular layer of the caudal lobe, it shifts more and more medially and crosses the midline whilst decussating with the contralateral tract on the dorsal margin of the molecular layer of the caudal lobe. Finally, the tract splits off and terminates throughout the granular layer of the caudal lobe. The main characteristics of this pathway are similar to those of the ventral spinocerebellar tract of higher vertebrates; it conveys information from all spinal levels directly to the contralateral cerebellum. However, it does not seem to receive direct synaptic input from the periphery, since projection of the dorsal root fibers appears to be limited to the dorsal ipsilateral half of the spinal cord. The appearance of such a pathway in a teleost fish is probably related to the existence of a well developed proprioceptive system in this species.

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.4449/aib.v128i2.927


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