The Cerebellum

, Volume 16, Issue 1, pp 230–252 | Cite as

The Roles of the Olivocerebellar Pathway in Motor Learning and Motor Control. A Consensus Paper

  • Eric J. Lang
  • Richard Apps
  • Fredrik Bengtsson
  • Nadia L Cerminara
  • Chris I De Zeeuw
  • Timothy J. Ebner
  • Detlef H. Heck
  • Dieter Jaeger
  • Henrik Jörntell
  • Mitsuo Kawato
  • Thomas S. Otis
  • Ozgecan Ozyildirim
  • Laurentiu S. Popa
  • Alexander M. B. Reeves
  • Nicolas Schweighofer
  • Izumi Sugihara
  • Jianqiang Xiao
Consensus Paper

Abstract

For many decades, the predominant view in the cerebellar field has been that the olivocerebellar system’s primary function is to induce plasticity in the cerebellar cortex, specifically, at the parallel fiber-Purkinje cell synapse. However, it has also long been proposed that the olivocerebellar system participates directly in motor control by helping to shape ongoing motor commands being issued by the cerebellum. Evidence consistent with both hypotheses exists; however, they are often investigated as mutually exclusive alternatives. In contrast, here, we take the perspective that the olivocerebellar system can contribute to both the motor learning and motor control functions of the cerebellum and might also play a role in development. We then consider the potential problems and benefits of it having multiple functions. Moreover, we discuss how its distinctive characteristics (e.g., low firing rates, synchronization, and variable complex spike waveforms) make it more or less suitable for one or the other of these functions, and why having multiple functions makes sense from an evolutionary perspective. We did not attempt to reach a consensus on the specific role(s) the olivocerebellar system plays in different types of movements, as that will ultimately be determined experimentally; however, collectively, the various contributions highlight the flexibility of the olivocerebellar system, and thereby suggest that it has the potential to act in both the motor learning and motor control functions of the cerebellum.

Keywords

Cerebellum Inferior olive Complex spike Purkinje cell Synchrony Motor control Motor learning 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Eric J. Lang
    • 1
  • Richard Apps
    • 2
  • Fredrik Bengtsson
    • 3
  • Nadia L Cerminara
    • 2
  • Chris I De Zeeuw
    • 4
    • 5
  • Timothy J. Ebner
    • 6
  • Detlef H. Heck
    • 7
  • Dieter Jaeger
    • 8
  • Henrik Jörntell
    • 3
  • Mitsuo Kawato
    • 9
  • Thomas S. Otis
    • 10
  • Ozgecan Ozyildirim
    • 5
  • Laurentiu S. Popa
    • 6
  • Alexander M. B. Reeves
    • 10
  • Nicolas Schweighofer
    • 11
  • Izumi Sugihara
    • 12
  • Jianqiang Xiao
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Neuroscience and PhysiologyNew York University School of MedicineNew YorkUSA
  2. 2.School of Physiology, Pharmacology and NeuroscienceUniversity of BristolBristolUK
  3. 3.Neural Basis for Sensorimotor Control, Department of Experimental Medical ScienceLund UniversityLundSweden
  4. 4.Department of NeuroscienceErasmus MC RotterdamRotterdamThe Netherlands
  5. 5.Netherlands Institute for NeuroscienceRoyal Netherlands Academy of Arts and SciencesAmsterdamThe Netherlands
  6. 6.Department of NeuroscienceUniversity of MinnesotaMinneapolisUSA
  7. 7.Department Anatomy and NeurobiologyUniversity of Tennessee Health Science CenterMemphisUSA
  8. 8.Department of BiologyEmory UniversityAtlantaUSA
  9. 9.Brain Information Communication Research Laboratory GroupATRKyotoJapan
  10. 10.Department of Neurobiology and Integrated Center for Learning and MemoryGeffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  11. 11.Division of Biokinesiology and Physical TherapyUniversity of Southern CaliforniaLos AngelesUSA
  12. 12.Department of Systems Neurophysiology, Graduate School of Medical and Dental Sciences, and Center for Brain Integration ResearchTokyo Medical and Dental UniversityTokyoJapan

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