Identification of Aldolase C Compartments in the Mouse Cerebellar Cortex by Olivocerebellar Labeling

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Aldolase C (zebrin II) is expressed in Purkinje cells aligned in complicated longitudinal stripe-shaped compartments. The tight link between these aldolase C compartments and the topographic olivocerebellar projection to them has made it possible to identify each compartment as a target of a specific subarea of the inferior olive and thus as a functionally distinct entity in the rat. However, it is unknown whether the overall organization of aldolase C compartments is preserved in other mammals. In this study, we tried to clarify this organization in the mouse, which is more useful in genetic studies than the rat, by identifying each aldolase C compartment in terms of the olivocerebellar projection pattern. First, aldolase C compartments were reconstructed from serial sections throughout the cerebellar cortex. Aldolase C and olivocerebellar climbing fibers were then doubly labeled by small injections of biotinylated dextran amine into various areas of the inferior olive. Climbing fibers were topographically distributed on a specific linked pair of aldolase C compartments in the rostral and caudal cerebellum. The overall relationship between aldolase C compartments and the topographic olivocerebellar projection to them in the mouse was similar to that in the rat, except for some minor differences, suggesting that the aldolase C compartments and olivocerebellar projection are organized according to a common fundamental organization in the mouse and rat. This allowed the unequivocal identification of all aldolase C compartments in the mouse by referring to the definition and nomenclature in the rat. J. Comp. Neurol. 500:1076–1092, 2007. © 2006 Wiley-Liss, Inc.

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