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Kolb, F. P.; Arnold, G.; Lerch, R.; Straka, Hans ORCID: 0000-0003-2874-0441; Büttner-Ennever, J. (1997): Spatial distribution of field potential profiles in the cat cerebellar cortex evoked by peripheral and central inputs. In: Neuroscience, Vol. 81, No. 4: pp. 1155-1181
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The present study was designed to characterize the spread of excitation within the frontal plane of the cat cerebellar cortex following different types of stimuli. In particular, experiments were performed to determine whether the spread of excitation evoked by messy fibre inputs proceeds primarily along the parallel fibres (''beam-like'' spread) or whether these inputs activate non-propagated foci (''patches'') in the cerebellar cortex. Field potentials were recorded within a frontal plane as a medial to lateral array at different depths in parallel tracks. The recordings were made following electrical stimulation of different forelimb nerves and functionally related areas of the sensorimotor cortex as well as during passive paw movements. The resulting spatial grid of responses provides discrete spatio-temporal information reflecting the activation of specific cerebellar afferents and the neuronal interactions they evoke. The method employed demonstrates the spatial distribution of the temporal sequence of excitability changes throughout all the cerebellar cortical layers. In general, the characteristics of the responses in the intermediate cerebellar cortex depended on the source of the signals. Activity patterns evoked by peripheral nerve stimulation showed more clustered foci compared with those following electrical stimulation of functionally related areas of the sensorimotor cortex. The centrally evoked profiles were generally more homogeneous. The largest number of foci were observed following passive movements around the wrist joint. The spread of excitation in the vertical direction was evaluated by the spatial shift of the line of reversal of the N-3/P-2-potential (zero-isopotential line). Lines of reversal for peripherally-evoked activity patterns were approximately 90 mu m closer to the molecular layer than those evoked by central stimulation in animals in which recordings have been performed in lobule Vc. The opposite was found for recordings in lobule Vb, where potential reversals following peripheral stimulation were located 40 mu\m deeper than those evoked following central stimulation. Cortical inputs resulted in a more proximal activation of lobule Vc Purkinje cell dendrites than in lobule Vb. This type of input processing thus seems to be lobule dependent. A beam-like spread of excitation could not be demonstrated. For both climbing fibre and messy fibre afferent systems multiple foci were found in the frontal plane. The foci due to messy fibre activation arose from the granular layer and expanded vertically to the molecular layer. For the climbing fibre system the foci were restricted to the molecular layer, where they merged to form a superficial band of activation. Although the data presented in this paper favour a focal distribution of activity, they do not exclude beam-like propagation along the parallel fibres, because of the difficulty of detecting this pattern in response to the stimuli. The ''beam''- and ''patch''-like hypotheses need not be mutually exclusive. Each could contribute to a specific stage of the temporal-spatial processing in the cerebellar cortex in a functional and task-specific manner. (C) 1997 IBRO. Published by Elsevier Science Ltd.