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Neuron. 2019 Aug 7;103(3):506-519.e4. doi: 10.1016/j.neuron.2019.05.022. Epub 2019 Jun 11.

Cerebellar Contribution to Preparatory Activity in Motor Neocortex.

Author information

1
Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland; Sainsbury Wellcome Center, University College London, 25 Howland Street, London W1T 4JG, UK.
2
Biozentrum, University of Basel, Klingelbergstrasse 70, 4056 Basel, Switzerland; Sainsbury Wellcome Center, University College London, 25 Howland Street, London W1T 4JG, UK. Electronic address: t.mrsic-flogel@ucl.ac.uk.

Abstract

In motor neocortex, preparatory activity predictive of specific movements is maintained by a positive feedback loop with the thalamus. Motor thalamus receives excitatory input from the cerebellum, which learns to generate predictive signals for motor control. The contribution of this pathway to neocortical preparatory signals remains poorly understood. Here, we show that, in a virtual reality conditioning task, cerebellar output neurons in the dentate nucleus exhibit preparatory activity similar to that in anterolateral motor cortex prior to reward acquisition. Silencing activity in dentate nucleus by photoactivating inhibitory Purkinje cells in the cerebellar cortex caused robust, short-latency suppression of preparatory activity in anterolateral motor cortex. Our results suggest that preparatory activity is controlled by a learned decrease of Purkinje cell firing in advance of reward under supervision of climbing fiber inputs signaling reward delivery. Thus, cerebellar computations exert a powerful influence on preparatory activity in motor neocortex.

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