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Nat Rev Neurosci. 2012 Sep;13(9):619-35. doi: 10.1038/nrn3312. Epub 2012 Aug 16.

Distributed synergistic plasticity and cerebellar learning.

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Department of Neuroscience, Erasmus Medical Center, 3000 DR Rotterdam, The Netherlands.


Studies on synaptic plasticity in the context of learning have been dominated by the view that a single, particular type of plasticity forms the underlying mechanism for a particular type of learning. However, emerging evidence shows that many forms of synaptic and intrinsic plasticity at different sites are induced conjunctively during procedural memory formation in the cerebellum. Here, we review the main forms of long-term plasticity in the cerebellar cortex that underlie motor learning. We propose that the different forms of plasticity in the granular layer and the molecular layer operate synergistically in a temporally and spatially distributed manner, so as to ultimately create optimal output for behaviour.

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