Sensorimotor Integration and Amplification of Reflexive Whisking by Well-Timed Spiking in the Cerebellar Corticonuclear Circuit

Spencer T. Brown, Indira M. Raman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

33 Scopus citations

Abstract

To test how cerebellar crus I/II Purkinje cells and their targets in the lateral cerebellar nuclei (CbN) integrate sensory and motor-related inputs and contribute to reflexive movements, we recorded extracellularly in awake, head-fixed mice during non-contact whisking. Ipsilateral or contralateral air puffs elicited changes in population Purkinje simple spike rates that matched whisking kinematics (∼1 Hz/1° protraction). Responses remained relatively unaffected when ipsilateral sensory feedback was removed by lidocaine but were reduced by optogenetically inhibiting the reticular nuclei. Optogenetically silencing cerebellar output suppressed movements. During puff-evoked whisks, both Purkinje and CbN cells generated well-timed spikes in sequential 2- to 4-ms windows at response onset, such that they alternately elevated their firing rates just before protraction. With spontaneous whisks, which were smaller than puff-evoked whisks, well-timed spikes were absent and CbN cells were inhibited. Thus, sensory input can facilitate millisecond-scale, well-timed spiking in Purkinje and CbN cells and amplify reflexive whisker movements. Brown and Raman find that, during puff-evoked reflexive whisking in mice, Purkinje cells transmit motor commands arising in the brainstem. Sensory input dictates the timing of Purkinje and CbN cell spikes, such that transiently elevated cerebellar output amplifies reflexive whisking.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)564-575.e2
JournalNeuron
Volume99
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Aug 8 2018

Keywords

  • Purkinje
  • cerebellar nuclei
  • complex spike
  • crus I/II
  • mouse
  • synchrony
  • vibrissa

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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