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Topography and nociceptive receptive fields of climbing fibres projecting to the cerebellar anterior lobe in the cat

Topography and nociceptive receptive fields of climbing fibres projecting to the cerebellar anterior lobe in the cat

Journal of Physiology 441: 257-274

The cutaneous receptive fields of 225 climbing fibres projecting to the forelimb area of the C3 zone in the cerebellar anterior lobe were mapped in the pentobarbitone-anaesthetized cat. Responses in climbing fibres were recorded as complex spikes in Purkinje cells. A detailed topographical organization of the nociceptive climbing fibre input to the C3 zone was found. In the medial C3 zone climbing fibres with receptive fields covering proximal and/or lateral parts of the forelimb projected most medially. Climbing fibres with receptive fields located more medially on the forelimb projected successively more laterally. The sequence of receptive fields found in the lateral C3 zone was roughly the reverse of that in the medial C3 zone. Climbing fibres with receptive fields restricted to the digits projected preferentially to the caudal part of the forelimb area, whereas those with receptive fields covering both proximal and ventral areas of the forearm projected to more rostral parts. The representation of the forelimb was uneven. Receptive fields with a focus on the digits or along the lateral side of the forearm dominated. The proximal borders of the receptive fields were located close to joints. The area from which maximal responses were evoked was usually located eccentrically within the receptive field. Based on spatial characteristics the receptive fields could be divided into eight classes, which in turn were tentatively divided into subclasses. Similar subclasses of receptive fields were found in different cats. This classification was further supported by the results of a quantitative analysis of eighty-nine climbing fibres. The receptive fields of these climbing fibres were mapped with standardized noxious stimulation. Climbing fibres terminating within sagittal strips (width, 100-300 .mu.m; length, > 1 mm) had receptive fields which belonged to the same subclass. There were commonly abrupt changes in receptive fields between such microzones. Most classes of receptive fields were found in both the medial and the lateral parts of the C3 zone. However, receptive fields with a focus on the ventral side of either the metacarpals, the wrist or the forearm were found only in the medial part of the C3 zone. Furthermore, the class of receptive fields restricted to the lateral side of the upper arm and shoulder was only found in the lateral part of the C3 zone. In the discussion, it is proposed that climbing fibres projecting to each microzone carry information from spinal multireceptive reflex arcs acting on a single muscle or a group of synergistic muscles. It is further suggested that each microzone controls the activity of the corresponding motoneurone pool(s) via pathways through the anterior interposed nucleus and the red nucleus.

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Accession: 018187164

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PMID: 1816375

DOI: 10.1113/jphysiol.1991.sp018750

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