We have compared the band-like distribution of the Purkinje cell-specific polypeptides zebrin I and zebrin II with the spatial organization of tactile projections to crus IIa in the cerebellar hemisphere of the rat. Maps of tactile responses in the granular layer of the cerebellar hemispheres are fractured into discontinuous regions, termed 'patches'. High-density micromapping was used to identify specific patches and their boundaries within this fractured somatotopic map. In one series of experiments, medial and lateral boundaries of the large central ipsilateral upper lip-related patch were identified and labeled with either Fast Blue or India Ink. Following immunocytochemical processing, the band-like distribution of immunostained Purkinje cells (zebrin-positive bands) and the identified patch boundaries were digitized and reconstructed in three dimensions. Comparisons between these two features demonstrate a spatial correspondence between zebrin transitions and the boundaries of the electrophysiologically defined upper lip-related patch. In another series of experiments, we outlined the boundaries or centers of several smaller patches consistently located in the medial portion of the folium. Again, we found a correspondence between the distribution of granule cell layer tactile patches and the zebrin staining pattern.The correspondence between tactile projection patterns and molecular features demonstrated in the present study implies that there is a distinct and largely fixed spatial pattern of organization in the cerebellar hemispheres. We discuss possible causal connections and developmental determinates, as well as the physiological significance of the correspondence between the two features. Copyright (C) 1999 IBRO.
- Fractured somatotopic map
- Three-dimensional computer reconstruction
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