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New structural aspects of the synaptic contacts on Purkinje cells in an elasmobranch cerebellum.

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  • Research Article


Nerve fibre contacts on Purkinje cell perikarya in the cerebellum of the small-spotted dogfish (Scyliorhinus canicula) were studied using the Cajal reduced silver technique, Golgi methods and electron microscopy. Silver staining revealed axons with thick swellings close to the base of Purkinje cells. Golgi methods demonstrated the presence of 'pincushions' of somatic spines on Purkinje cells. Electron microscopy revealed flattened fibres that formed extensive synaptic contacts with the Purkinje cell 'pincushions'. It is proposed, on the basis of the ultrastructural features, that these fibres are climbing fibres. Their possible significance in terms of the evolution of cerebellar circuitry is discussed.

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