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Brain Res. 1996 Nov 11;739(1-2):1-11.

Effects of midline and lateral cerebellar lesions on motor coordination and spatial orientation.

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Université de Montréal, Département de Psychologie, Qué, Canada.


Rats were lesioned in the midline cerebellum, comprising the vermis and fastigial nucleus, or the lateral cerebellum, comprising the cerebellar hemispheres and dentate nucleus, and evaluated in a series of motor and non-motor learning tests. Rats with midline lesions had difficulty in maintaining their equilibrium on a bridge and were slower before turning upward and traversed less squares on an inclined grid. They were not impaired for muscle strength when suspended from a horizontal wire. Rats with lateral lesions had milder deficits on the bridge and were not affected in the other two tests. In the Morris water maze test, rats with lateral lesions were deficient in spatial orientation, whereas rats with midline lesions were deficient in visuomotor coordination. Lateral lesions had no effects on visual discrimination learning. These results illustrate the differential influence of midline as opposed to lateral cerebellar regions on both motor and non-motor behaviors. Fastigial nucleus lesions decreased the time spent in equilibrium and latencies before falling on the bridge and the distance travelled along the inclined grid but had no effect on muscle strength when suspended from the horizontal string. Quadrant entries and escape latencies were higher in rats with fastigial lesions during the hidden platform condition of the Morris water maze but not during the visible platform condition. It is concluded that fastigial-lesioned rats are impaired in equilibrium and spatial orientation but with repeated trials learn to improve their performances.

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