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Neurosci Biobehav Rev. 2015 Dec;59:83-91. doi: 10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.09.019. Epub 2015 Oct 9.

The anatomy of fear learning in the cerebellum: A systematic meta-analysis.

Author information

1
Maastricht University, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, School of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht, The Netherlands. Electronic address: i.lange@maastrichtuniversity.nl.
2
Maastricht University, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, School of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht, The Netherlands.
3
Royal Dutch Academy of Arts and Sciences, Netherlands Institute for Neuroscience, Amsterdam, The Netherlands; Erasmus Medical Center, Department of Neuroscience, Rotterdam, The Netherlands.
4
Maastricht University, Department of Psychiatry and Psychology, School of Mental Health and Neuroscience, Maastricht, The Netherlands; University of Leuven, Faculty of Psychology, Center for Experimental and Learning Psychology, Leuven, Belgium.

Abstract

Recent neuro-imaging studies have implicated the cerebellum in several higher-order functions. Its role in human fear conditioning has, however, received limited attention. The current meta-analysis examines the loci of cerebellar contributions to fear conditioning in healthy subjects, thus mapping, for the first time, the neural response to conditioned aversive stimuli onto the cerebellum. By using the activation likelihood estimation (ALE) technique for analyses, we identified several distinct regions in the cerebellum that activate in response to the presentation of the conditioned stimulus: the cerebellar tonsils, lobules HIV-VI, and the culmen. These regions have separately been implicated in fear acquisition, consolidation of fear memories and expression of conditioned fear responses. Their specific role in these processes may be attributed to the general contribution of cerebellar cortical networks to timing and prediction. Our meta-analysis highlights the potential role of the cerebellum in human cognition and emotion in general, and addresses the possibility how deficits in associative cerebellar learning may play a role in the pathogenesis of anxiety disorders. Future studies are needed to further clarify the mechanistic role of the cerebellum in higher order functions and neuropsychiatric disorders.

KEYWORDS:

Cerebellum; Fear learning; Functional MRI; Meta-analysis

PMID:
26441374
DOI:
10.1016/j.neubiorev.2015.09.019
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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