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The hypothalamo-cerebellar projection in the rat: origin and transmitter.

E. Dietrichs, L. Wiklund, D. E. Haines


Hypothalamic neurons projecting to cerebellum were identified by retrograde tracing with wheat germ agglutinin-horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) in the rat. Selective D-[3H]aspartate labelling was used to investigate whether any of these connections may use excitatory amino acids as transmitters. The WGA-HRP experiments revealed that the hypothalamo-cerebellar fibers have their main origins in the lateral, dorsal and posterior hypothalamic areas, and the tubero-mammillary nucleus, while smaller numbers of cells were observed in tuber cinereum, the anterior hypothalamic area, and the periventricular and paraventricular nuclei. After injections of D-[3H]aspartate into the cerebellar cortex, intense labelling of the olivocerebellar climbing fiber system was observed, but hypothalamic cells were not retrogradely labelled with this selective tracer. The absence of D-[3H]aspartate labelling indicates that hypothalamo-cerebellar neurons lack specific uptake mechanisms for excitatory amino acids, but it does not entirely preclude the possibility that some of these hypothalamic neurons may use such transmitters. Many cerebellar projecting cells were located in the tubero-mammillary nucleus, which is known to contain histaminergic and GABAergic neurons, and it was concluded that part of the hypothalamo-cerebellar pathways may use histamine and/or GABA as transmitters. The transmitter remains unknown for other parts of the hypothalamo-cerebellar pathways.

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