Chronic in vivo imaging of ponto-cerebellar mossy fibers reveals morphological stability during whisker sensory manipulation in the adult rat

Daria Rylkova, Aidan R. Crank, David J. Linden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Abstract

The cerebellum receives extensive disynaptic input from the neocortex via the basal pontine nuclei, the neurons of which send mossy fiber (MF) axons to the granule cell layer of the contralateral cerebellar hemisphere. Although this cortico-cerebellar circuit has been implicated in tasks such as sensory discrimination and motor learning, little is known about the potential role of MF morphological plasticity in the function of the cerebellar granule cell layer. To address this issue, we labeled MFs with EGFP via viral infection of the basal pons in adult rats and performed in vivo two-photon imaging of MFs in Crus I/II of the cerebellar hemisphere over a period of several weeks. Following the acquisition of baseline images, animals were housed in control, enriched, or deprived sensory environments. Morphological dynamics were assessed by tracing MF axons and their terminals, and by tracking the stability of filopodia arising from MF terminal rosettes. MF axons and terminals were found to be remarkably stable. Parameters derived neither from measurements of axonal arbor geometry nor from the morphology of individual rosettes and their filopodial extensions significantly changed under control conditions over 4 weeks of imaging. Increasing whisker stimulation by manipulating the sensory environment or decreasing such stimulation by whisker trimming also failed to alter MF structure. Our studies indicate that pontine MF axons projecting to Crus I/II in adult rats do not undergo significant structural rearrangements over the course of weeks, and that this stability is not altered by the sustained manipulation of whisker sensorimotor experience.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0075-15.2015
JournaleNeuro
Volume2
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 1 2015

Keywords

  • Cerebellum
  • In vivo imaging
  • Mossy fiber

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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