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Physiol Res. 2011;60 Suppl 1:S39-48. Epub 2011 Jul 19.

Involvement of cerebellum in emotional behavior.

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National Institute of Neuroscience-Italy, University of Turin, Turin, Italy.


In the last decade a growing body of data revealed that the cerebellum is involved in the regulation of the affective reactions as well as in forming the association between sensory stimuli and their emotional values. In humans, cerebellar areas around the vermis are activated during mental recall of emotional personal episodes and during learning of a CS-US association. Lesions of the cerebellar vermis may affect retention of a fear memory without altering baseline motor/autonomic responses to the frightening stimuli in both human and animal models. Reversible inactivation of the vermis during the consolidation period impairs retention of fear memory in rodents. Recent findings demonstrate that long-term potentiation (LTP) of synapses in the cerebellar cortex occurs in relation to associative fear learning similar to previously reported data in the hippocampus and amygdala. Plastic changes affect both excitatory and inhibitory synapses. This concomitant potentiation allows the cerebellar cortical network to detect coincident inputs, presumably conveying sensorial stimuli, with better efficacy by keeping the time resolution of the system unchanged. Collectively, these data suggest that the vermis participates in forming new CS-US association and translate an emotional state elaborated elsewhere into autonomic and motor responses.

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