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Human Cerebellar Cortex, 40X
Anatomically, the cerebellum has the appearance of a separate structure attached to the bottom of the brain, tucked underneath the cerebral hemispheres. Its cortical surface is covered with finely spaced parallel grooves, in striking contrast to the broad irregular convolutions of thecerebral cortex. These parallel grooves conceal the fact that the cerebellar cortex is actually a continuous thin layer of tissue tightly folded in the style of an accordion. Within this thin layer are several types of neurons with a highly regular arrangement, the most important being Purkinje cells and granule cells. At the microscopic level, there are four deep nuclei embedded in the white matter. Each part of the cortex consists of the same small set of neuronal elements, laid out in a highly stereotyped geometry. At an intermediate level, the cerebellum and its auxiliary structures can be separated into several hundred or thousand independently functioning modules called “microzones” or “microcompartments”.