The Journal of comparative neurology

Single axonal morphology and termination to cerebellar aldolase C stripes characterize distinct spinocerebellar projection systems originating from the thoracic spinal cord in the mouse.

PMID 29159952


The spinocerebellar projection has an essential role in sensorimotor coordination of limbs and the trunk. Multiple groups of spinocerebellar projections have been identified in retrograde labeling studies. In this study, we aimed at characterizing projection patterns of these groups using a combination of anterograde labeling of the thoracic spinal cord and aldolase C immunostaining of longitudinal stripes of the cerebellar cortex in the mouse. We reconstructed 22 single spinocerebellar axons, wholly in the cerebellum and brain stem and partly, in the spinal cord. They were classified into three groups, (a) non-crossed axons of Clarke's column neurons (NCC, 8 axons), (b) non-crossed axons of marginal Clarke's column neurons (NMCC, 7 axons), and (c) crossed axons of neurons in the medial ventral horn (CMVH, 7 axons), based on previous retrograde labeling studies. While NCC axons projected mainly to multiple bilateral stripes in vermal lobules II-IV and VIII-IX, and the ipsilateral medial cerebellar nucleus, NMCC axons projected mainly to ipsilateral stripes in paravermal lobules II-V and copula pyramidis, and the anterior interposed nucleus. CMVH axons projected bilaterally to multiple stripes in lobules II-V with a small number of terminals but had abundant collaterals in the spinal cord and medullary reticular nuclei as well as in the vestibular and cerebellar nuclei. The results indicate that, while CMVH axons overlap with propriospinal and spinoreticular projections, NCC and NMCC axons are primarily spinocerebellar axons, which seem to be involved in relatively more proximal and distal sensorimotor controls, respectively.