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Front Syst Neurosci. 2013 Mar 13;7:3. doi: 10.3389/fnsys.2013.00003. eCollection 2013.

A vermal Purkinje cell simple spike population response encodes the changes in eye movement kinematics due to smooth pursuit adaptation.

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  • 1Department of Cognitive Neurology, Hertie Institute for Clinical Brain Research, University of Tübingen Tübingen, Germany.


Smooth pursuit adaptation (SPA) is an example of cerebellum-dependent motor learning that depends on the integrity of the oculomotor vermis (OMV). In an attempt to unveil the neuronal basis of the role of the OMV in SPA, we recorded Purkinje cell simple spikes (PC SS) of trained monkeys. Individual PC SS exhibited specific changes of their discharge patterns during the course of SPA. However, these individual changes did not provide a reliable explanation of the behavioral changes. On the other hand, the population response of PC SS perfectly reflected the changes resulting from adaptation. Population vector was calculated using all cells recorded independent of their location. A population code conveying the behavioral changes is in full accordance with the anatomical convergence of PC axons on target neurons in the cerebellar nuclei. Its computational advantage is the ease with which it can be adjusted to the needs of the behavior by changing the contribution of individual PC SS based on error feedback.


Purkinje cells; cerebellar cortex; monkey; smooth pursuit eye movements; vermis

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