High affinity glutamate uptake into corticofugal fiber terminals was measured in the ventrolateral thalamus and red nucleus at varying time intervals after lesions were made by kainic acid in the contralateral interpositus nucleus of the cerebellum in rats. Under similar conditions the density of cortical fiber terminals was estimated using the Fink-Heimer impregnation technique. 1. Glutamate uptake steadily increased in the ventrolateral thalamus up to 60 days after lesions in the contralateral cerebellum. 2. Similar changes were noted in the red nucleus. 3. The changes were dependent on the integrity of corticofugal fibers to the thalamus and red nucleus. 4. No changes in uptake of gammaaminobutyric acid were noted. 5. Saturation curves for glutamate uptake suggested a change in the maximal number of transport sites. 6. Fink-Heimer degeneration studies showed an increase in cortical terminals in the ipsilateral ventrolateral thalamus and in both rostral and caudal regions of the red nucleus following lesions in the contralateral interpositus nucleus. The data are consistent with an increase in the number of cortical fiber terminals in reaction to loss of cerebellar input to the ventrolateral thalamus and red nucleus. This study correlates anatomical and biochemical evidence for collateral sprouting in a model based on electrophysiologic data in the red nucleus and extends the model to include the thalamus
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