Thalamic territories innervated by cerebellar nuclear afferents in the hedgehog tenrec, Echinops telfairi

J Comp Neurol. 1998 Dec 21;402(3):313-26. doi: 10.1002/(sici)1096-9861(19981221)402:3<313::aid-cne3>;2-5.


To gain more insight into the evolution and functional significance of cerebrocerebellar circuits, the cerebellothalamic projections were studied with anterograde tracer substances in the Madagascan lesser hedgehog, tenrec. This insectivore shows one of the lowest size indices among mammals for both the cerebellar nuclei and the neocortex. Almost all cerebellodiencephalic target areas found in the tenrec have been described in other mammals. The intensity and extent of particular projections, however, vary considerably in the tenrec compared with the other mammals investigated so far. The most remarkable finding may be the tenrec's cerebellar projection to the nucleus ventralis medialis. This projection is the most prominent cerebellothalamic projection and originates in predominantly the lateral portion of the cerebellar nuclear complex. The projection to the caudolateral portion of the ventralis anterior complex (VAC) is located immediately rostral to the area receiving ascending somatosensory afferents and appears to originate, in particular, from the intermediate cerebellar nuclear complex. Another cerebellothalamic focus of terminations lies in the paralamellar region of the VAC, whereas the proper intralaminar nuclei, at best, receive a sparse cerebellar input. A faint-to-moderate projection, on the other hand, has been traced consistently to the ventral portion of the lateralis posterior-pulvinar complex and the adjacent dorsal geniculate nucleus. In addition, there are prominent cerebellosubthalamic projections to the zona incerta and the ventral geniculate nucleus. The latter projection is confined mainly to the ventralmost subdivision, which has been shown previously to receive ascending somatosensory, but not retinal, afferents. With the exception of the nucleus ventralis medialis, the projections were essentially confined to the contralateral side.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Afferent Pathways / anatomy & histology
  • Afferent Pathways / physiology
  • Animals
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / anatomy & histology
  • Cerebellar Nuclei / physiology*
  • Hedgehogs / physiology*
  • Molecular Probes
  • Neurons, Afferent / physiology*
  • Thalamic Nuclei / anatomy & histology
  • Thalamic Nuclei / physiology
  • Thalamus / anatomy & histology
  • Thalamus / physiology*
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinin-Horseradish Peroxidase Conjugate


  • Molecular Probes
  • Wheat Germ Agglutinin-Horseradish Peroxidase Conjugate