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Excitatory inputs to four types of spinocerebellar tract neurons in the cat and the rat thoraco-lumbar spinal cord.

Journal article
Authors Sony Shakya Shrestha
B Anne Bannatyne
Elzbieta Jankowska
Ingela Hammar
Elin Nilsson
David J Maxwell
Published in The Journal of physiology
Volume 590
Issue Pt 7
Pages 1737-55
ISSN 1469-7793
Publication year 2012
Published at Institute of Neuroscience and Physiology, Department of Physiology
Pages 1737-55
Language en
Subject categories Neurophysiology


The cerebellum receives information from the hindlimbs through several populations of spinocerebellar tract neurons. Although the role of these neurons has been established in electrophysiological experiments, the relative contribution of afferent fibres and central neurons to their excitatory input has only been estimated approximately so far. Taking advantage of differences in the immunohistochemistry of glutamatergic terminals of peripheral afferents and of central neurons (with vesicular glutamate transporters VGLUT1 or VGLUT2, respectively), we compared sources of excitatory input to four populations of spinocerebellar neurons in the thoraco-lumbar spinal cord: dorsal spinocerebellar tract neurons located in Clarke's column (ccDSCT) and in the dorsal horn (dhDSCT) and ventral spinocerebellar tract (VSCT) neurons including spinal border (SB) neurons. This was done on 22 electrophysiologically identified intracellularly labelled neurons in cats and on 80 neurons labelled by retrograde transport of cholera toxin b subunit injected into the cerebellum of rats. In both species distribution of antibodies against VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 on SB neurons (which have dominating inhibitory input from limb muscles), revealed very few VGLUT1 contacts and remarkably high numbers of VGLUT2 contacts. In VSCT neurons with excitatory afferent input, the number of VGLUT1 contacts was relatively high although VGLUT2 contacts likewise dominated, while the proportions of VGLUT1 and VGLUT2 immunoreactive terminals were the reverse on the two populations of DSCT neurons. These findings provide morphological evidence that SB neurons principally receive excitatory inputs from central neurons and provide the cerebellum with information regarding central neuronal activity.

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