Zonal organization of the vestibulocerebellum in pigeons (Columba livia): III. Projections of the translation zones of the ventral uvula and nodulus

J Comp Neurol. 2003 Oct 13;465(2):179-94. doi: 10.1002/cne.10857.


Previous electrophysiological studies in pigeons have shown that the complex spike activity of Purkinje cells in the medial vestibulocerebellum (nodulus and ventral uvula) is modulated by patterns of optic flow that result from self-translation along a particular axis in three-dimensional space. There are four response types based on the axis of preferred translational optic flow. By using a three axis system, where +X, +Y, and +Z represent rightward, upward, and forward self-motion, respectively, the four cell types are t(+Y), t(-Y), t(-X-Z), and t(-X+Z), with the assumption of recording from the left side of the head. These response types are organized into parasagittal zones. In this study, we injected the anterograde tracer biotinylated dextran amine into physiologically identified zones. The t(-X-Z) zone projected dorsally within the vestibulocerebellar process (pcv) on the border with the medial cerebellar nucleus (CbM), and labeling was found in the CbM itself. The t(-X+Z) zone also projected to the pcv and CbM, but to areas ventral to the projection sites of the t(-X-Z) zone. The t(-Y) zone also projected to the pcv, but more ventrally on the border with the superior vestibular nucleus (VeS). Some labeling was also found in the dorsal VeS and the dorsolateral margin of the caudal descending vestibular nucleus, and a small amount of labeling was found laterally in the caudal margin of the medial vestibular nucleus. The data set was insufficient to draw conclusions about the projection of the t(+Y) zone. These results are contrasted with the projections of the flocculus, compared with the primary vestibular projection, and implications for collimotor function are discussed.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Biotin / analogs & derivatives*
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebellum / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebellum / physiology
  • Columbidae / anatomy & histology*
  • Columbidae / physiology
  • Dextrans
  • Purkinje Cells / cytology*
  • Vestibular Nuclei / cytology*
  • Visual Pathways / anatomy & histology*


  • Dextrans
  • biotinylated dextran amine
  • Biotin