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The interposito-rubrospinal system. Anatomical tracing of a motor control pathway in the rat

Neuroscience Research
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1016/0168-0102(87)90027-7
  • Interposito-Rubrospinal Connection
  • Rat
  • Wga-Hrp


Abstract The cerebello-rubromotor pathway, impinging on both spinal and facial motor nuclei, has been traced in the rat, using the bidirectional transport of horseradish peroxidase-wheat germ agglutinin conjugate. After injection of the tracer in the red nucleus (NR), retrograde labelling shows a topical arrangement of the cerebellorubral connection. The nucleus lateralis projects to the parvocellular NR (NRp) and the nucleus interpositus to the magnocellular NR (NRm). The nucleus interpositus anterior (NIA) reaches the entire NRm and this projection is topographically arranged: the medial NIA sends fibres ventrally, the lateral NIA dorsally. The medial two-thirds of the nucleus interpositus posterior (NIP) project only to the medial aspect of the NRm, with no apparent organization. No connection has been found between the lateral third of NIP and the NRm. After injection of the tracer in the spinal cord or the nucleus of the facial nerve, retrograde labelling is observed almost throughout the entire caudorostral extent of the NR, although labelling is more scant in NRp than in NRm. Rubrospinal and rubrofacial projections are somatotopically arranged in the dorsoventral direction: ventrolateral regions of NR reach the lumbar cord, medioventral regions the lower cervical levels, intermediary regions the upper cervical levels and finally the dorsalmost part of the NR projects to the nucleus of the facial nerve. After injection of the tracer in the cerebellar nuclei, anterograde labelling in the NR shows that interpositorubral connections determine two subregions in the NR: a lateral one under the exclusive control of the NIA, and a medial one under the control of both NIA-NIP afferents. It confirms in addition the topography of the NIA-NRm projection and shows the preponderant participation of the NIA afferents to the interpositorubral connection. Thus, it appears from our results that the cerebellorubral arrangement matches, to a great extent, the “rubromotor” efferent organization.

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