Otolith organ or semicircular canal stimulation induces c-fos expression in unipolar brush cells and granule cells of cat and squirrel monkey

Gabriella Sekerková, Ema Ilijic, Enrico Mugnaini, James F. Baker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Immediate early gene expression in the cerebellar vermis of cats and squirrel monkeys was stimulated by prolonged whole body rotations. Continuous, earth-horizontal axis rotations that excited only otoliths or high velocity vertical axis rotations that excited only semicircular canals resulted in c-fos immunoreactive nuclei concentrated in the granular layer of lobules X and ventral IX (the nodulus and ventral uvula), which represent the medial parts of the vestibulo-cerebellum. Large clusters of labeled nuclei consisting mainly of granule cells and calretinin-positive unipolar brush cells were present in the granular layer, whereas Purkinje cell nuclei were unlabeled, and labeled basket and stellate cell nuclei were scattered in the molecular layer. In other vermal lobules there was a significant but less dense label than in the nodulus and ventral uvula. Generally, the extent of c-fos labeling of molecular layer interneurons was in relation to nuclear labeling of granular layer neurons: labeling of both basket and stellate cells accompanied nuclear labeling of neurons throughout the depth of the granular layer, whereas only stellate cells were labeled when nuclear labeling was restricted to the superficial granular layer. Yaw horizontal or roll vertical rotations each stimulated c-fos expression in the cat medial vestibulo-cerebellum to approximately the same extent. Low-velocity rotations resulted in much less c-fos expression. Similar, albeit less intense, patterns of c-fos activation were observed in monkeys. Concentrated c-fos expression in the medial vestibulo-cerebellum after exposure to a strong head velocity signal that could originate from either otolith or canal excitation suggests that granule and unipolar brush cells participate in a neuronal network for estimating head velocity, irrespective of the signal source.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)286-300
Number of pages15
JournalExperimental Brain Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2005


  • Basket cell
  • Calretinin
  • Golgi cell
  • Lugaro cell
  • Stellate cell
  • Velocity estimation
  • Vestibulo-cerebellum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience


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