, Volume 199, Issue 1, pp 9-19

Pallidal and cerebellar inputs to thalamocortical neurons projecting to the supplementary motor area in Macaca fuscata: a triple-labeling light microcopic study

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 We investigated the interrelationship between the supplementary motor area (SMA) thalamocortical projection neurons and the pallidothalamic and cerebellothalamic territories in the monkey (Macaca fuscata) using a combination of three tracers in a triple labeling paradigm. Thalamic labeling was analyzed following injections of the anterograde tracers, biotinylated dextran amine (BDA) into the internal segment of the globus pallidus (GPi) and wheat germ agglutinin conjugated to horseradish peroxidase (WGA-HRP) into the contralateral cerebellar interpositus and dentate nuclei. In addition, the retrograde tracer cholera toxin subunit B (CTB) was injected into the physiologically identified hand/arm representation of SMA. The tissue was processed sequentially using different chromogens in order to visualize all three tracers in a single section. We found that the SMA thalamocortical neurons occupied a wide band extending from the ventral anterior nucleus pars principalis (VApc) through the ventral lateral nucleus pars oralis (VLo) and the ventral lateral nucleus pars medialis (VLm) and into to the ventral lateral nucleus pars caudalis (VLc) including a portion of ventral posterior lateral nucleus pars oralis (VPLo) and nucleus X. The heaviest CTB labeling was found in VLo with dense plexuses of BDA labeled pallidothalamic fibers and swellings often observed superimposed upon retrogradely labeled CTB cells. In addition, dense foci of cerebellothalamic WGA-HRP anterograde label were observed coinciding with the occasional retrogradely CTB labeled neurons in VLc and transitional zones between VApc, VLo and VPLo. Our light microscopic results suggest that the SMA receives thalamic inputs with afferents largely derived from GPi and minor inputs originating from the cerebellum.

Accepted: 29 June 1998