Experimental Brain Research

, Volume 235, Issue 11, pp 3437–3448 | Cite as

Cerebellar compartments for the processing of kinematic and kinetic information related to hindlimb stepping

Research Article


We previously showed that proprioceptive sensory input from the hindlimbs to the anterior cerebellar cortex of the cat may not be simply organized with respect to a body map, but it may also be distributed to multiple discrete functional areas extending beyond classical body map boundaries. With passive hindlimb stepping movements, cerebellar activity was shown to relate to whole limb kinematics as does the activity of dorsal spinocerebellar tract (DSCT) neurons. For DSCT activity, whole limb kinematics provides a solid functional framework within which information about limb forces, such as those generated during active stepping, may also be embedded. In this study, we investigated this idea for the spinocerebellar cortex activity by examining the activity of cerebellar cortical neurons during both passive bipedal hindlimb stepping and active stepping on a treadmill. Our results showed a functional compartmentalization of cerebellar responses to hindlimb stepping movements depending on the two types of stepping and strong relationships between neural activities and limb axis kinematics during both. In fact, responses to passive and active stepping were generally different, but in both cases their waveforms were related strongly to the limb axis kinematics. That is, the different stepping conditions modified the kinematics representation without producing different components in the response waveforms. In sum, cerebellar activity was consistent with a global kinematics framework serving as a basis upon which detailed information about limb mechanics and/or about individual limb segments might be imposed.


Sensory mapping Locomotion Sensorimotor integration Kinematics 



This research was supported by a grant from the USPHS, NIH Grant R01 NS21143.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Biomedical and Biotechnological Sciences, Section of PhysiologyUniversity of CataniaCataniaItaly
  2. 2.Department of Neuroscience and CBMSUniversity of Rome “Tor Vergata”RomeItaly
  3. 3.IRCSS Santa Lucia FoundationRomeItaly
  4. 4.Department of NeuroscienceUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA

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