Variability in tactile projection patterns to cerebellar folia crus IIA of the Norway rat

J Comp Neurol. 1990 Dec 22;302(4):768-78. doi: 10.1002/cne.903020409.


Tactile responses in the granule cell layers of the cerebellar hemispheres of rats are topographically arranged as a series of patches each representing a different region of the body surface. Previous observations had suggested that patches representing specific body parts recur in similar folial positions in different individuals; however, these relationships were not quantified. In this study we make inter-animal comparisons of the detailed distribution of receptive fields in the granule cell layer of the crown of crus IIa by using physiological mapping techniques. The results suggest that maps from different individuals do, in fact, share several topological features. These include the regions of the body surface represented, the general proportions of these representations, the relative positions of patches representing the same body parts, and the organization of receptive fields within patches located in similar positions. The principal variability seen in these comparisons was in the detailed neighborhood relations between different patches. As a result of the analysis of the consistent and variable features of these maps, we propose and discuss a new role for these cerebellar regions in coordinating the acquisition of tactile sensory information.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Animals
  • Brain Mapping*
  • Cerebellum / cytology
  • Cerebellum / physiology*
  • Female
  • Perception
  • Rats
  • Somatosensory Cortex / physiology
  • Touch / physiology*