Visual inputs to the dorsocaudal fastigial nucleus of the cat cerebellum. An experimental study using single unit recordings and horseradish peroxidase labelling.

K. Kawamura, M. Kase, M. Ohno, T. Hashikawa, M. Kato


Visual afferents to the cat fastigial nucleus (FN) have been studied with single unit recordings and horseradish peroxidase techniques. A total of 158 cells responding to electrical stimulation of the optic chiasm (OCh) were extracellularly recorded from the dorsocaudal part of the FN. They were classified into three groups: type-1 cells (48%) which showed early suppression and late facilitation; type-2 cells (38%) which showed early facilitation and late suppression; type-3 cells (14%) which exhibited long lasting suppression with no signs of facilitation. Eight of 32 cells tested showed the same response patterns to photic stimulation as to electrical stimulation of the OCh. None of the cells responding to electrical and photic stimulation, however, were found in the rostral and ventral parts of the FN. Furthermore, 29 cells which responded to electrical stimulation of the OCh were tested for responses to moving pattern stimulation. Seven (4 type-2 cells and 3 type-3 cells) of the 29 cells showed clear modulation, reflecting the velocity component of a horizontally moving pattern. However, none of 13 type-1 cells tested exhibited apparent modulation in relation to movement of the pattern. In order to trace the possible pathways mediating visual signals to this part of the FN, the horseradish peroxidase (HRP) method was used. Injection of HRP into the caudal FN resulted in the labelling of many cells, predominantly in the medial (M) and the descending (D) vestibular nuclei and in lobules VI and VII of the cerebellar vermis. A series of experiments further indicated the presence of possible pathways propagating visual signals to the caudal FN. The main routes are: 1) via the nucleus of the optic tract (NOT)--the dorsal part of the medullary reticular formation--the M and the D vestibular nuclei--to the FN, and 2) via the superior colliculus--the pontine nuclei--vermal lobules VI and VII--to the FN. The different physiological response patterns of FN cells may indicate that several types of visual signals involved with visually guided movements impinge upon the dorsocaudal FN.

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