Abstract / Description of output
The basal interstitial nucleus (BIN) in the white matter of the vestibulocerebellum has been defined more than three decades ago, but has since been largely ignored. It is still unclear which neurotransmitters are being used by BIN neurons, how these neurons are connected to the rest of the brain and what their activity patterns look like. Here, we studied BIN neurons in a range of mammals, including macaque, human, rat, mouse, rabbit and ferret, using tracing, immunohistological and electrophysiological approaches. We show that BIN neurons are GABAergic and glycinergic, that in primates they also express the marker for cholinergic neurons choline acetyl transferase (ChAT), that they project with beaded fibers to the glomeruli in the granular layer of the ipsilateral floccular complex, and that they are driven by excitation from the ipsilateral and contralateral medio-dorsal medullary gigantocellular reticular formation. Systematic analysis of co-distribution of the inhibitory synapse marker VIAAT, labeled BIN axons and Golgi cell marker mGluR2 indicate that BIN axon terminals complement Golgi cell axon terminals in glomeruli, accounting for a considerable proportion (> 20%) of the inhibitory terminals in the granule cell layer of the floccular complex. Together, these data show that BIN neurons represent a novel and relevant inhibitory input to the part of the vestibulocerebellum that controls compensatory and smooth pursuit eye movements.