Motor control mechanism by the cerebellum


The cerebellum plays critical roles in motor control and learning. Relative simplicity of the cerebellar cortical circuit has been stimulating the study on how it works, making the cerebellum one of the best characterized structure in the central nervous system. As the organizer of the symposium ‘‘Motor control mechanism by the cerebellum’’ held during the 83rd annual meeting of the Physiological Society of Japan (28–30 March 2006, Maebashi, Gunma, Japan), I aimed to learn recent progress regarding this issue and to clarify problems which should be resolved. To this aim, three speakers using different approaches were invited and together with myself presented their recent results. I believe that multidisciplinary approaches will be useful and necessary to obtain better understanding of the function mechanism of the cerebellum. Nagao and Hirata studied the acute and chronic motor memory and analyzed the role of cerebellum in mice and monkeys, respectively. They discussed differential roles of the cerebellum and the brainstem in adaptation of oculomoter reflexes. Fujita took a theoretical approach to study the function of cerebellum and proposed to assign a role in the feed-forward associative motor learning. Hirano studied the functional significance of balanced climbing and parallel fiber inputs to a Purkinje neuron based on the analysis using mutant mice. The presentations provided new viewpoints to consider the cerebellar function and there were lively discussions. The detailed summary of each presentation follows.


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