Simultaneous single neuron and local field potential (LFP) recordings were made in arm-related areas of the cerebellar nuclei (CN) and primary motor cortex (M1) of two monkeys during a reaching and button pressing task. Microstimulation of focal sites in CN caused short latency (median = 3.0 ms) increases in discharge in 25% of 210 M1 neurons. Suppressive effects were less common (13%) and observed at longer latencies (median = 9.9 ms). Stimulation in CN also caused reciprocal facilitation and suppression in averages of antagonist muscle electromyograms (EMGs). The latency of these effects was ~8-11 ms. In contrast to the selectivity of unit and EMG effects, stimulation-evoked changes in LFP occurred over a broad range of sites. There were no significant short-latency effects detected in cross- correlation histograms between single neurons in CN and M1. However, CN spike-triggered averages of M1 LFPs were observed in a few cases (10% of 126 cases). In one-half of these, there were effects both before and after the CN spikes, which may reflect causal effects from M1 to CN, as well as from CN to M1. Overall, these results demonstrate a spatially specific, short latency, primarily excitatory pathway from CN to M1. The relatively rare effects at the single neuron level may have resulted from the difficulty in achieving optimal alignment between cerebellar and cerebral sites because of the specificity of these connections.
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