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Nat Neurosci. 2014 Dec;17(12):1767-75. doi: 10.1038/nn.3868. Epub 2014 Nov 17.

Short latency cerebellar modulation of the basal ganglia.

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Dominick P. Purpura Department of Neuroscience, Albert Einstein College of Medicine, Bronx, New York, USA.


The graceful, purposeful motion of our body is an engineering feat that remains unparalleled in robotic devices using advanced artificial intelligence. Much of the information required for complex movements is generated by the cerebellum and the basal ganglia in conjunction with the cortex. Cerebellum and basal ganglia have been thought to communicate with each other only through slow, multi-synaptic cortical loops, begging the question as to how they coordinate their outputs in real time. We found that the cerebellum rapidly modulates the activity of the striatum via a disynaptic pathway in mice. Under physiological conditions, this short latency pathway was capable of facilitating optimal motor control by allowing the basal ganglia to incorporate time-sensitive cerebellar information and by guiding the sign of cortico-striatal plasticity. Conversely, under pathological condition, this pathway relayed aberrant cerebellar activity to the basal ganglia to cause dystonia.

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