Developmental plasticity in cerebellar tactile maps: Fractured maps retain a fractured organization

Leila Gonzalez, Caroly Shumway, Josée Morissette, James M. Bower

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


Plasticity following deafferentation has been repeatedly demonstrated in topographic sensory maps in the mammalian brain. In this paper we investigated the developmental plasticity of the fractured somatotopic map found in the tactile regions of the rat cerebellum. At various stages of postnatal development between postnatal days 1 and 30, we cauterized the infraorbital branch of the trigeminal nerve, which innervates the upper lip, furry buccal pad, and vibrissae that are represented within cerebellar folium crus IIa. The organization of the crus IIa map was then examined 2 to 3 months after denervation. We found that tactile receptive fields had reorganized throughout the denervated area but maintained a fractured somatotopy. Comparison of the reorganization in different animals showed that the denervated upper lip region was consistently and predominantly replaced by representation of the upper incisors. Analysis of evoked field potentials revealed an alteration, in denervated animals, of the response of the granule cell layer to brief tactile stimulation. This response in normal animals consists of two components at different latencies. Animals lesioned later in development were less likely to have the short latency component. This result suggests a difference in the developmental sensitivity of different cerebellum‐related pathways to nerve lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)487-498
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Comparative Neurology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jun 22 1993
Externally publishedYes


  • deafferentation
  • granule cell layer
  • mossy fiber
  • somatosensory

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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