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Cerebellum. 2014 Feb;13(1):64-78. doi: 10.1007/s12311-013-0517-4.

Prefrontal control of cerebellum-dependent associative motor learning.

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Department of Physiology, College of Basic Medical Sciences, Third Military Medical University, Gaotanyan Street 30, Chongqing, 400038, China.


Behavioral studies have demonstrated that both medial prefrontal cortex (mPFC) and cerebellum play critical roles in trace eyeblink conditioning. However, little is known regarding the mechanism by which the two brain regions interact. By use of electrical stimulation of the caudal mPFC as a conditioned stimulus, we show evidence that persistent outputs from the mPFC to cerebellum are necessary and sufficient for the acquisition and expression of a trace conditioned response (CR)-like response. Specifically, the persistent outputs of caudal mPFC are relayed to the cerebellum via the rostral part of lateral pontine nuclei. Moreover, interfering with persistent activity by blockade of the muscarinic Ach receptor in the caudal mPFC impairs the expression of learned trace CRs. These results suggest an important way for the caudal mPFC to interact with the cerebellum during associative motor learning.

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