The cerebellum is crucial for various associative sensorimotor behaviors. Delay eyeblink conditioning (DEC) depends on the simplex lobule-interposed nucleus (IN) pathway, yet it is unclear how other cerebellar modules cooperate during this task. Here, we demonstrate the contribution of the vermis-fastigial nucleus (FN) pathway in controlling DEC. We found that task-related modulations in vermal Purkinje cells and FN neurons predict conditioned responses (CRs). Coactivation of the FN and the IN allows for the generation of proper motor commands for CRs, but only FN output fine-tunes unconditioned responses. The vermis-FN pathway launches its signal via the contralateral ventral medullary reticular nucleus, which converges with the command from the simplex-IN pathway onto facial motor neurons. We propose that the IN pathway specifically drives CRs, whereas the FN pathway modulates the amplitudes of eyelid closure during DEC. Thus, associative sensorimotor task optimization requires synergistic modulation of different olivocerebellar modules each provide unique contributions.
|Publication status||Published - 2020|