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Nat Commun. 2012 Jun 26;3:924. doi: 10.1038/ncomms1912.

Unravelling cerebellar pathways with high temporal precision targeting motor and extensive sensory and parietal networks.

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  • 1Department of Cognitive Neurology, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen, Otfried-Müller-Str. 27, 72076 Tübingen, Germany.


Increasing evidence has implicated the cerebellum in providing forward models of motor plants predicting the sensory consequences of actions. Assuming that cerebellar input to the cerebral cortex contributes to the cerebro-cortical processing by adding forward model signals, we would expect to find projections emphasising motor and sensory cortical areas. However, this expectation is only partially met by studies of cerebello-cerebral connections. Here we show that by electrically stimulating the cerebellar output and imaging responses with functional magnetic resonance imaging, evoked blood oxygen level-dependant activity is observed not only in the classical cerebellar projection target, the primary motor cortex, but also in a number of additional areas in insular, parietal and occipital cortex, including sensory cortical representations. Further probing of the responses reveals a projection system that has been optimized to mediate fast and temporarily precise information. In conclusion, both the topography of the stimulation effects and its emphasis on temporal precision are in full accordance with the concept of cerebellar forward model information modulating cerebro-cortical processing.

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